Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why make pictures?

"Ready, Set…"
Jan 19, 2011
Why make pictures? Look at these two drawings done one after the other, yesterday and today. Very different and both by me. And both grappling, in a small way with the same event. Both use reality to ponder something in the abstract.
Someone I don't know very well became very angry with me for something I said. Their reaction was so extreme and vituperative that it was almost comical. Their countenance became so exaggerated that I couldn't help but wonder if they were unbalanced in some medical way. I was shaken by this incident and I'm still pondering it.

While making art, you have time to think about all sorts of things. It's never conclusive for me but it's a state of mind I value. I venture through something, not to solve it necessarily but just to sort it all out. I can lay all the shards on the table and make a little mosaic picture perhaps. So these pictures become trivets made up of desire, flights of fancy, and clear-eyed wrangling with art materials and picture-making requirements.

The image to the left here of a cart with a billowing geometric construction coming out of it is just an abstract improvisation. It's "real" in the sense that I drew it as a real thing: "a cart on a cliff filled with something". While completely imaginary, it is not wholly abstract and it clearly symbolizes "something".
Will the owner of the cart spill the contents into the sea below? Or is the cart filled with something so billowing and sticky that it'll be a real chore to get rid of it? Maybe the geometric cloud will get caught by the wind and the whole thing will end up on the rocks below like some Tar Baby. Some emotions have to be appreciated in this manner: perhaps they cause harm and must be cast away or maybe they are obstinate enough and will not be easily shaken off; perhaps with good reason.

The rendering below is of some trees growing from a stone wall just above the Charles River dam in South Natick where I live. The aforementioned argument/incident was still preoccupying me and I sought out a motif that would somehow address it: Tangles, angular obstructions obscuring my field of vision.
For me, making pictures of very different types often begin and end at the same place. The roads they travel in between may be very, very different.
Jan 20, 2011


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