Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Entry Points

For the artist, every drawing has an entry point. I've found it's relatively easy to get used to and fall back on the same entry points. The question is whether the fall back is merely convenient, an easy place to start, or whether it is meaningful. I am not always sure about my own entry points; when I try to shake them up, I often end up back at variations.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Thinking about how different edge quality and value/hue differentials on interlocking shapes can alter dimensional illusion.

Pic-A-Day: Shape

Pic-A-Fay: optics

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Sunday, December 20, 2009


Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Marks on Walls and Ins Space (V)

Blended Abstraction and Figuration

Color and Desaturation

Looking at Oliski and Color Strategy

I spent some time online looking at images of Jules Olitski's work. The color truly is exceptional.

I found theses quotes attributed to him:

"There is value in long years of obscurity, if one doesn't go insane or suicidal, in that, simply because nobody is looking, the habit of fooling around and trying things out gets ingrained."

And from Time Magazine, "Olitski recalls a conversation in 1965: 'I said I would like my painting to have the appearance of being just color. Then I remarked that if only I could spray some color into the air and somehow it would remain suspended, that's what I would want. Just color by itself. I thought it was amusing, and so did everyone else. But that evening, going to sleep, it occurred to me that it was a serious notion.'"

When I started painting, after getting past basic technique, and thinking about what I wanted to paint, I remember thinking that I wanted to draw/paint (translate) space between things as material in itself, without the things defining it. Color strategy affords that possibility, as Oliski's work shows. As does Olaf Eliason's work with light, mists and mirrors -- his particles in space are material, suspended as Oliski had wished for his sprays of color. But it is a different, and it would seem to me more difficult to solve, puzzle when working with the physical materiality of paint as opposed to light and as opposed to digital pixels that make it seem much easier.

Color Variation


Marks on Walls and in Space (IV)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Marks on Walls and in Space (III)

Marks on Walls and in Space (II)


Marks on Walls and in Space

The coming end of the year oddly has me evaluating where my work is heading at the onset in intention, including peripheral intentions. Today, I have ended up thinking about the way my marks seem to need to be connected to shape and form, even a single mark is part of a larger shape or form when I consider making the mark, when I place the mark, when I step back from mark. When can one properly placed mark be enough to hold a wall or space?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Choices: Creation and Presentation

Choice as an operative aspect of making and presenting art has come up a few times in the last couple of weeks from somewhat different directions.

First, an arts professional recommended an artist leave out certain work that fit chronologically but distracted conceptually from a catalogue; this I view as pure and necessary critical presentation editing.

Second, an artist faced criticism for creating confusion by choosing to hang works differing in compositional approach (formality, tightness/looseness) and media in a setting that was somewhere in between the studio and exhibition space, granted a studio visit is different in kind from working in the studio; this I view as a misunderstanding as to the setting.

Third, an art maker/curator recommended artists not waste limited time available in which to create and focus narrowly and drill down deep, as choices must be made on directions to pursue; this I view as problematic. There are so many things one tries out -- to get them out of the system, to see what happens, to momentarily distract as the mind works through a problem. While this diversion can use up limited time one has to make work, sometimes work can’t get made unless one follows these rabbits down their holes. One making work may have entry points -- visually, aurally, conceptually, emotionally, kinesthetically -- to creating the work that ultimately differ, sometimes in marked ways, from the entry points viewers are given to the work one chooses to exhibit. Yet, the sentiment of inevitable and necessary choice is factually so: time is limited and choices must be made in what one pursues as well as what one presents.

I am very much at risk of being overly diverted, unfortunately.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Outside Art Speak

I went to Hyde Park Art Center’s Open Crit today. The dialogue in this program is a valuable contribution to the art community, and hopefully, they’ll keep the program going.

Today, I was reminded how easy it can be to feel separate from the art world, at least the institutional art world, when art theory starts to be expressed. In commenting on one artist’s work, one of the moderators said, “There’s no expression in painting.” Of course there’s expression in painting -- by its very nature, painting involves making marks, which can’t help but be expressive, even if the artist conceptually or strategically tries to restrain or absent expression. Acknowledged or not, emphasized or not, expression and concept both are present in painting -- and in whatever form of art we might make.

The moderator went on to make a good point -- an artwork has to reach beyond the artist’s personal idiosynchronicities (the artist’s “feelings”), which may have motivated and informed its creation, and connect with the viewer to engage and to make a lasting impression. It cannot depend on the personal for its meaning and success, as the second moderator noted. At the same time, it can’t be generic or it'll be forgotten. Talking about the place at which the personal touches the universal or the universal reveals the personal is different from saying that there’s no expression in painting.