26″ x 30″ Acrylic on Masonite. Not altogether happy with this, but sometimes don’t want harmonious colors. Sometimes I want colors that make your eyes hurt. This been sitting on my easel for weeks. Sometimes, I can paint over and start again, or set a piece aside. This was like a clogged drain. Better to finish it and renew the flow.



The Impossibility of Realist Art

This is a comment to the post below–rebloged from Alien Ecologies.

The ‘realism’ of the artist was never that of the scientist, even when their work drew on geometrical perspective, was colored by optics, and anatomically rendered. The pictorial plane never truly “represented.” What was suggested there has always been both more and other than the named subject, even when following conventional rules and stripped of other worldly intentions (see Hubert Damisch: A Theory of /Cloud/ for a case study of development of internal resistance to pictorial realism from Correggio to Cezanne).
The moment an artist accepts what they know to be true–and let’s that realization influence what they do (even more so when meticulously following realist conventions, because the contradiction between the claim to representation, and the dependence on these conventions is all the more disturbing), there will be a desire to deal with the fact of that contradiction–in the work itself. This is not a flight from reality–material or otherwise, but commitment to it. There is no art without the “meta.’ Naive realism simply chooses to let illusion stand for the real, without calling attention to it. I would go so far as to suggest that this contradiction, the failure of representation, is the generative engine that drives change. I think that can be said for abstract, ‘non-representational’ art as well, with the fault lying, not between the claim to a ‘subject’ that exists in the material world and the pure fabrication that is the art, in the failure to entirely reduce the aesthetic object to the  picture plane, or surface form and matter of 3 dimensional works. There is just no way to exclude the viewer, who is no mere observer, but actively participates–enters the work and moves through it–creating something like a virtual reality that changes with every viewer, across cultures and spans of time.


Age of Abstraction 2.0?

The Dark Fantastic: Literature, Philosophy, and Digital Arts


“I always decide in favor of feeling rather than calculation.”

           – Kandinsky

As Hilton Kramer suggested in his rendition of the those modernist artists after 1913:

For both Mondrian and Kandinsky, the artistic base from which they made their fateful leap into abstraction was landscape painting, but their respective approaches to landscape were, again, very different. Whereas Mondrian’s was that of an ascetic determined to strip nature of its mutable attributes, Kandinsky’s was that of a mystical lyricist for whom nature is an enchanted realm of poetry and symbolism. Yet for both, the leap into abstraction was at once guided and sanctioned by their faith in the metaphysics of the occult, which in the end emancipated them from the mundanity of the observable world.1

This notion of the disappearance of Nature, the natural as introduced by Enlightenment philosophe’s and the rationalists before them as the mechanistic, and observable, objective…

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Some things age better than others…

Not a bad day. Two little poems. Three hours drawing. Grocery shopping, which I’ve been putting off (I HATE grocery shopping… selections in the nearest supermarket are so boring, and I can’t afford either time or money to go to the Reading Terminal or the Italian Market every time I run low on food). The local food co-op, Mariposa, is for peeps with way more money than me).

I was happy to have written new poems… and surprised to see that I’ve written more than I’d remembered the last two years… and that they didn’t seem all that bad. I got to thinking about this… about what lasts in my estimation.

I like a painting when I finish it… or I’d either keep working at it, or give up and paint over it and start again. Many, if I like them at first, I’ll like for a few days… some for weeks, or months. Very very few will I like enough in a year or so, that I won’t be ready to give them a coat of gesso and use the surface for something new.

I haven’t had to buy new canvas or stretchers in months!

Water colors, metal points… similar, but I can’t paint over the water colors, and I’ve not been making metal points that long–though several of these I’ve already relegated to the scrap heap and deleted photos of them from my blog.

With poems, it’s different. I very seldom feel more than tolerance for their existence when I finish them (though, strangely–if I accept them at all–I want to share them right away instantly-often to my embarrassment). But I’ll find poems I wrote years ago, and thought next to worthless when I wrote them… and think… wow! I wrote that? That’s not half bad!

I’m glad it takes so much less space to keep old poems, than old paintings…