July 20, 2003

A Direction

Here's the work form the night. I like the wee hours, and it's better when I can play music loudly every so often when my energy sags.

I think this is the way to go for the first large painting (48"x44"). This is a work on paper, very thick board that is. I'm looking at the light touch, a magnum of paint applied with a magnum of control. The last work on paper tried the former dominating the latter... and I see a limited opportunity in that direction. For now.

Shifting toward the lighter tonality gives me some room to move, shifting from erasing to marking, modulating until I get the painting I want. I'm back to a central organization again. The previous work on paper is also different in that it is a field more than it is a figure. As always in this relation, one emerges from the other: the field puckers towards figure, the figure submerged within a field. Or alternately: if I expand the figure towards the edge, I might be able to get to that place. I think of these ordinates of figuration as the energy that empowers this abstract project.

This was shot in the morning with my halogen work lights, so they are shifted to yellow. I've corrected for light levels with photoshop. I like the high raking light. Someday, I might be able to reproduce these conditions in a show.
Here's the same piece shot in interior daylight. I've cropped it in anticipation for the next painting.

I was thinking of Manet's "The Ragpicker" (from the Norton Simon's collection in Pasadena). It can seem as if the field that surrounds the old man became the favored expression of a modernity that dematerialized painting first in Duschamp's urinal, thenKlein's monochromes, then through the stages of the PostModern permutations (Pop), minimalism, conceptualism and the broad meandering brackish delta that once was a crackling mountain stream. what is amazing about Manet is his touch, how he continued the legacy of Spanish painting. The flesh of the corporeal paint was parallel and as fully realised as the virtual flesh of the figure depicted. Shimmering both up at once is the feat of it all.

There seems to be that as one sees the figure virtually, one is also extremely aware that a figure is rendered. On one hand is the invitation to illusion, and the other, a simultaneously vivid recognition of the mechanics of it's manifestation. The puppet's strings are digitally eliminated.

This is different from today's world, where there is no value attached in balancing opposites. In our time, there is an ambient invitation to lose oneself in the fantasy of it all. It's an extremity, almost a fanaticism where ideology is all important. Partisans and true believers. A world of Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Posted by Dennis at July 20, 2003 9:34 AM


you should receive a book at your door soon...i hope it's the virgin viewing for you. it's actually coming your way from the dallas museum. i came across it awhile back and after observing the detailed image posted a few days back...i thought it might be of interest...consider it a "house" warming gift...

I'm off to the Azores for 30 days. I'll call when I get back. Thanks for the tour Dennis. Think of me eating the live flesh of shellfish that have been scooped from the ocean moments before.

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