January 14, 2004


Blogs beg a daily diaristic treatment, so with every passing day, I become more conscious of the need to keep you guys posted. While this is indeed a diary of the studio, I try not to go "full monte" on you.

You can thank me later.
What has been happening is my usual run up to the next brace of paintings. For some reason, I am not the type to walk up to art materials and bust the move from a cold start. If, like now, there has been a hiatus, I seem to need a little head time*1 before I begin to move materials around with conviction. I remember the Picasso movie where he paints on glass for the camera. Those paintings sucked. (Still love Picasso, tho!)

If there was a live studio cam (a la Jenni-Cam), what you would see is a guy staring at the walls, and if you could install a camera inside my head fro a mind's eye view, you would see the image of Captain Willard I conjured in an earlier post: " Broken glass, slobbering, butt naked, tear stained self indulgence, flat on my ass..." and like I said then: no worries. This is all too familiar for me, a necessary start up phase.

What is "Captain Willard" thinking?

What is painting? What have I done so far? Where am I going? What are those tendrils that connect the materiality of paint with the conceptuality of figuration? Am I right to foreground material over image*2? If figuration powers the abstract project, as I have thought and stated in the past, how have I unhinged it before, and is there another way to rearrange it? If there is a figure beneath the material that I'm striving to make vivid and palpable, can I just paint a Rembrant-like self portrait? Aw, jeez... my skin crawls at the thought of the simplistic flicks of the brush that articulates a crude schema of eye, nose, mouth, chin, hair, ears...

I pull out a few of my books: Auerbach, Soutine, Bacon, Hodgkin... all imagists in different ways. If I am the mirror of Peter Saul, I am a mirror of these painters too. But a mirror is a reflection in reverse. I can only reflect them only if I reverse them too.

I've been thinking of the black paintings, the dark Monets. Is this the time to take this on? In my mind's eye, I see floating pools of color reds, yellows inflections of blue, purple and green... and over it all is a sheet of black that skips and tears over, intensifying the color. I've been thinking of light yellow and white works, with rose like flower like eruptions that float like lily pads.

I've seen a movie poster of figures and I imagine a painting with colors floating down the surface, slabs of color: flesh, pinks, baracketed by blacks and umbers, detail concentrations where the faces are, drawing the eye down a painting to float back up in clouds of pink. I don't know. Anything to get it started.

Why this image?*3 Dunno. It caught my eye.
And my eye isn't talking.

*1 It's like a computer boot up routine.

*2 I looked at a Peter Saul catalog recently, where a friend told me he said that he wants to foreground image over material. That stuck with me as I've wanted to do the opposite. That makes sense for his generation. I saw an early Peter Saul work on paper (1960), where you can see the generation that was working off the legacy of abstraction towards the PostModern figure. It makes sense to me that forty years later, an artist in my time would want to work in the opposite direction.

The Saul stuff looked frickin' great.

*3 Would Captain Willard be the type to let some eye candy movie poster catch his eye as he is sent up river into jungle Id to bust a cap on a rogue officer?
Don't think so.

Posted by Dennis at January 14, 2004 7:32 PM


I rented the movie Punch Drunk Love with Adam Sandler. They use an interesting transition sequence between scenes that is visually compelling. It looks like a video painting. It reminded me of the visuals you are describing, the color, the form is was very fluid. Rent the dvd if you have a chance it has bonus footage of this stuff.


Thanks Ray!

Never thought Adam Sandler would inspire a painting.

I'll look for it soon.


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