Showing posts with label truth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label truth. Show all posts

July 14, 2016

The Killer of Imagination

I think I've been wrong.

Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin

What can I say. Some people who know me intimately will think that's very funny. But yes, I think I've been, I mean I know I've been overly self-conscious, which is the killer of imagination and impulse. All my musing about muses and audience can't possibly be right. I don't need more people looking over my shoulder, I need less.

We should learn to be our own muses is my new motto. 

I have been away from the studio for probably the longest stretch since moving to Beacon, NY two years ago. I've worked hard in that time, making over 25 paintings and countless works on paper, so I very much needed this break... At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin
It all started with this year's Beacon Open Studios at the end of May. I spent two full days gibbering to strangers (and friends) about my artwork. Something a lot of us who participated in the event noticed was that after a while of describing your work to people, you start repeating yourself over and over. The same descriptive words start flying out of your mouth. And you hear yourself saying things you never heard before. You're like, oh, so that's what my work is really about!!

So what did I hear myself saying all day for two days straight? That my paintings were in a transition phase, that they weren't exactly the kind of paintings I wanted to be making but somehow they needed to be made, that they were more formal and more figurative than I wanted them to be. Although I had very positive feedback, I found my own self-effacing comments very revealing. It was clear to me that that series of paintings was done with. But what to do next? And why did I need to make all those paintings that now felt forced and untruthful?

So, I've been away from it for a while.

Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin
The timing has been impeccable since I did just move, and moving as we all know, is hell. But now I'm ready to go back and I can't imagine what to do.

For starters, I've decided to refrain from sharing works in progress, so you probably won't see any new photographs for a while. In this age of sharing every second of our lives with everyone on the planet, I've suddenly found myself needing some privacy.  

I have a lot of work to do. Whatever it is that's been keeping me from the most truthful work I can possibly make has got to go! So I may need to close off the world for a bit, hole up in the studio and not come out till I figure something out. 

 
Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin



Promise I won't be MIA for too long..............




March 4, 2015

unique truths

How does one tell a "unique truth" 
as Richard Foreman talks about in his book Unbalancing Acts?
As he puts it, "we feel our lives as a series of multidirectional impulses and collisions."
"It is the impulse that is your deep truth, not the object that seems to call it forth. The impulse is the vibrating, lively thing that you really are."

Art is able to do this, to get to the core of what is really real and who we really are. It not only is able to relay an artist's own mind and spirit but it allows the audience the freedom to experience their own impulses simultaneously. In this way not only is the artist telling their unique truth but the audience as well is experiencing their own unique truth through it.

I think we recognize these truths when we realize that no other artist can give us this particular experience, and once we recognize it we could never mistake that work as belonging to anyone else.

My ultimate criterion for all great visual works of art includes such unique truths,
as well as a term I jotted down from I don't remember where and is now hanging on my studio wall, "extraordinary visual encounters".

As I'm writing this I'm trying to think of examples that apply: A work of art that could never have been done by anyone else; a unique truth and vision that is so powerful it becomes embedded in our subconscious and enlightens our perception of our selves and our world.

I would include the following:

Picasso's Guernica.

Guernica by Pablo Picasso








I think Monet's Waterlilies.

Monet's Waterlilies at the Musee de l'Orangerie in Paris

Monet's Waterlilies at the Musee de l'Orangerie in Paris








































I want to say Rothko's Chapel but I'm not sure if it is more of an extraordinary spiritual encounter than visual, and if that originates with the artwork or the context thereof.

the Rothko Chapel


the Rothko Chapel
















Francis Bacon.

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
















































































As usual, I end with more questions.
I wonder how much of this stuff can be learned.
Is the consistent act of creating going to end in enlightenment?  
Can a unique truth or vision be purposed and pursued, or is it something you either have or you don't, or even something you stumble upon accidentally?
Maybe I haven't found my truth yet. I'm spending a lifetime looking for it but maybe I'm looking in all the wrong places..





June 28, 2014

on looking- part 1




photo by Samantha Palmeri


I was just reading, thanks to Max Watman, about becoming better at looking. Although he was referring to something completely different, the act of looking is still the act of looking no matter what you're looking at, or into. It is the act of getting to know something. It's investigatory and starts with a desire to know. It also requires a particular type of person, someone who accepts a position of general not knowing. Someone with an innate need to learn more, to gain a better understanding of things. And here's the most important part: it requires an open mind, one that is ready and willing to be filled.

I'm an investigator, a researcher, a reader, a thinker, a seeker. For the most part I cannot help but question all things all the time. I want to know the whys and hows behind everything. Sometimes I think it all stems from a lack of trust. Trust in rules, in laws, in labels, in business practices, in lawyers, in politicians in doctors... in anything with a boss or a bottom line. Things with ulterior motives and boundaries that are closed off and closed minded. I have my own mind that knows what it wants and what it wants is inevitably TRUTH.

Isn't that what every artist is after? Shouldn't this be what it's all about??
Only there are so many variables and so many mixed up ways of twisting it all around. It is seriously difficult to know what's real. Certainly we've all felt this way at one time or another. Just one full day of watching television could tamper with every idea of truth and reality you've ever had.

My advice is, and my only consolation- go back to that simple act of looking. Be aware. Go back to that innate desire to know.
In my last post I mentioned how "there's something about intently staring at the subject you're drawing that gives you an understanding of it in a way that nothing else can".
All it requires is a little focus, the desire for truth, and a willingness to accept what you don't already know.

photo by Samantha Palmeri