December 12, 2003


I remember the scene in the Wizard of Oz. where Dorothy finds the Tinman in the forest and she has to squirt oil into his joints to get him moving again.

I was just about to shelf this when I paused and doubted whether it had enough density. This was a tough one, I don't know how describe why.

But now, I'm thinking about another work on paper that's in the black framework, similar to the paintings I sent to Z?rich and Cologne recently. I'm also thinking about painting one that's flat out representational. What the heck?

The issue of abstraction and representation is a curious one. I always felt the two were not necessarily mutually exclusive but connected, two halves of the same coin. It is our Western-ness (our proensity to see the world as composed of individuals) that renders us blind to the connection. The mind sees pattern in everything, we are always figuring what we see. (I think Gombrich's "Art and Illusion" is wonderful.) And abstraction is visuality with the lynchpin of representation loosened.

I've always described the use of representation in my work as like the removal of the engine from the representional vehicle to power an abstract project. By this, I mean that I use the codes of representation (bilateral symmetry, diminishing scale, horizontal versus vertical organization) to inflect and loosely shape the material of abstraction. If the coding got too literal, I would contradict it to keep the eyes/mind from coming to rest.

And why were the last two paragraphs necessary? prepare you for what might come later.

Posted by Dennis at December 12, 2003 6:30 PM

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