This comes as a feeling that pressed to become a thought, or a thought that sought to become an image. I sketched a face in soluble ink. Efaced with watercolor. Still there. Subsummed
I seldom do figurative art. Not in my finished pieces. I draw the human figure… obsessively, from bones to flesh and back to bones–images of the human. But that isn’t what they are–the drawings. It isn’t there, the human, and in my finished work, what is human remains, not quite invisible, most often as little more than an unintended suggestion. Broken into fragments. Or traces and debris of our passing.
That isn’t a plan. I’m not rendering some idea I have… I don’t know what it is, other than it emerges from some primal conflict, deeply, inexorably personal. It permeates my art–how I work, how I think about it. I know that it has to do with how or why I spend so much of my private, internal conversation explaining, justifying–as though I stand before some perpetual tribunal–that has demanded, without asking (I just know)–that I’m called to account for what I make, for the very need I have to make art, in these conversations where I go endlessly back to the beginning. Do I even have a right to call it… art? To permit myself…?
How this is connected with using the human figure, I don’t know, but I know that it is. Had I all the years of a younger man ahead of me, I don’t think that a lifetime of analysis would be sufficient to uncover what lies buried, something powerful enough to have kept me away from the one thing I’ve always wanted to do–for almost 40 years.
But it’s more than personal… or should I say, more than my private demons. As though this most private struggle has reformed itself into the one subject central to everything I make. How I can feel human figures in the most abstract pieces that come from my hand. Has become their struggle. Something pressing to emerge, pressing toward freedom. Or is it the subsummation of the human back into that state from whence we came? My not distant death linking itself to the coming extinction of our species?