What’s up for August 2017?

My submission to State of the Art Gallery for August 2017 are two abstract paintings, Despot and Dames, and Landscape 11/9.

Despot and Dames, 18×24″, oil on canvas, $600

Despot and Dames started with the idea of juxtaposing a large heavy and menacing shape with several smaller, ephemeral, semi transparent slender shapes. It was a struggle to resolve the painting, because at various points it looked very architectural in an industrial sense, and I did not mean for it to represent pipes, bridges or buildings. It stayed in that state for about 6 months, waiting for the answer. Just when I was almost convinced that the yellow horizontal lines needed to be extended and connected, even though I was firmly convinced that would anchor it in architecture irrevocably, I subjected it to one more period of intense scrutiny.  I rotated it left, upside down, etc… and to my surprise I realized that in fact I needed to interrupt the yellow horizontals and instead connect the blue verticals. The painting snapped into accord with my intent. What a great feeling. You may well ask what motivated me to want to paint such an image. I am afraid I have to decline to tell you, I would rather ask what it might mean to you.  One day I was in the gallery  and a visitor expressed her impatience and irritation with the titles of abstract paintings. She said, the titles that indicate the artists intent or emotion strip her of the opportunity to freely engage with the painting. It was more important to her that she be free to react to the painting and enjoy her own thoughts and feelings. With that in mind, I would consider this painting a success if it sparks ideas for you or stirs some kind of emotional response as you look at it.

Landscape 11/9, 16×20″, oil on canvas, $500

Every morning, after I wake up, I look out my window and check out the world. Situated on an east facing hilltop, my bedroom looks out on a large expanse of lawn and gardens bordered by bushes that flower in their various seasons, ending in a wooded area.  Beyond that is Cass Park and the Inlet. The view continues in the distance with East Hill and Cornell, clouds and sunrise. Every so often I am struck by some quirk of season, weather, or circumstance that results in a morning of  sharpened perception and heightened emotion which sparks a retrospective painting. November 9, 2017 presented such an image, and  after breakfast I went down into my studio and painted Landscape 11/9 from memory. It is not intended to be a realistic painting, but the shapes and colors were inspired by the morning light hitting the autumn scenery. I think of it as falling somewhere within the Fauvist tradition of simplified shapes, fantastic colors, flattened perspective.


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