Saturday, August 9, 2014

Town & Country

New York, Summer 2014

Part One

I start this post with mirror images as a bridge from the rorschach/mirrored symmetries post and as a device for indicating how much more involved I became in the process of mirroring that is a part of being actually seen so that real communication is possible. It was a relief to be in places where I did not feel like a total misfit and with those so much more similar to myself in intent and interests. In short, I love New York, both town and country.

Brooklyn Art Museum, a beautifully installed wall of mirrors combining contemporary and period mirrors.

self portrait in Fred Wilson's exquisite black mirror in the same installation

Brooklyn Art Museum figure from African Art Exhibit

Looking through these images, I was surprised not to see more in the way of abstract images, which are my forte, however, much of this trip was about contact and encounter, so these images, most of them of new friends and other figures, serve as a fitting memoir. For some such as myself, it is through the lens of art that encounter is often most interesting........

Isaac Hecker, work in progress by Fr Frank Sabatte, Director of Openings Art Collective and  the art residency at the Paulist Father's house at Lake George.  Fr Hecker was the  populist priest who founded St Mary's.


Mary, at St Mary's on Lake George, upstate NY & black angel in the Frick garden NYC

The angel and the mother. the dark and the light, the ever present polarity of existence on this plane. It is said that in China white is the color of mourning. Meanings and definitions fade into each other. Love and its lack manifesting in fear, wears all forms and hues. These elements of our existence, love & fear, are the opposites we seek to balance and finally transcend into the absolute supreme reality of love.

In the western tradition of alchemy, it is fitting that love should be replaced by gold, the symbol of wealth, yet another metaphoric symptom of the pathology of our (hopefully) passing paradigm. And yet,  material abundance aligns with love, but its primacy over it is a perversion that may yet destroy us.

More universally, the alchemy process results in the creation, from the combining of opposites, into the philosopher’s stone, said to be the emblem of immortality. 

The infinite love of the immortal creator, the lapis lazuli stone, ground to color the mother of god’s robes, and philosophy the questions that begin the journeys to understanding………

Sigmar Polke detail of painting at MOMA

Forever amber- the old alchemist Polke at the MOMA, many of the paintings have so much more strength in the flesh than in books. 
As a painter, i would have liked to see more paintings.  The proliferation of film and video comes off as a populist branding of a contemporary star, good humored and charismatic, which strategic technique is prominent now in contemporary practice to engage the masses in art viewing these days……

We painters love that amber resin, it historicizes and warms whatever is encased in it...........

Joachim Marx  b115

Said to be the “ultimate in postmodern painting” by fellow painters, utilizing the integration of figurative and experimental painting practices, the paintings of Joachim Marx are a fulsome juxtaposition of these elements.

Eric Jiaju Lee

Probably the artist closest to the process oriented practices of my own painting is Eric Jiaju Lee
Eric executed several of these experimental works in the time we were at the residency, & set up the outdoor studio over looking the lake. Eric's work is included with lots of other painting luminaries in the Brooklyn gallery  Life on Mars exhibit "Never Mind the Bullocks",  This gallery is run by painters Michael David and Fran O'Neil and is a PAINTER"S gallery in the best sense of the word.

Another work by Eric.

and more! Cooking!

Work in progress by master wood carver and scientist/engineer Anthony Santella, when finished this will be shown at the Opening's exhibit this fall in NYC. There will be a computer screen in this ladies upturned hands. I can relate! Too well!

Monday, June 9, 2014

         Notes on the Contemporary Iconography of the Rorschach

#3384 acrylic on stonehenge ANON Studios June 2014

The fascination that the rorschach holds for contemporary artists touches several elements, first the process, secondly the aesthetics of balance, and finally its metaphors.

Artists as varied philosophically as  Bruce Conner, Andy Warhol, Sigmar Polke and Victor Hugo were practitioners. Now, in addition, many other artists are now involved in these processes through the new auspices of photoshop, such as Paul Cook and Tamorah Thomas, and of course there were the noteworthy tapestries of Gerhard Richter,  Paul Eberle's series "Flowers (for Richard)" utilizes flowers and growing things photographically to great effect using this process.
As for any artist living in Florida in recent years, I thought of Rauschenberg, realizing that this rorschachness is so integral a part of the print making process, central in this artists' oeuvre, that making rorschach images may have seemed redundant to him.
Along with my interests conceptually with Rorschach, these processes are woven into my work since the early 80's as a fabric designer and painter through the most recent MIRRORED SYMMETRIES digital series..

                                     #3388 acrylic on stonehenge ANON Studios June 2014

from "MIRRORED SYMMETRIES" by ANON Studios copyright 2009

And so, back to our dialogue, if Arts’ manifestations are to lead to meaningful conversations about how we live, note of the rorschach iconography as a metaphor for balance may be useful. Who would not argue that most of our worst logistical issues would not be healed with balance? This may only be possible in a new age where justice is truly no longer blind.

The imbalances of a dominator culture worshipping the false gods of the material and disregarding (the very real) requirements of spiritual life threaten our survival as a species. Our attractions to the rorschach are not exclusively decorative. These designs may server as icons of balance.
The comments are open. Anyone out there?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

#3219 22x30" inks/acrylics on paper

Painting, a Third Way

A new third way of making paintings is coming into prominence with artists now. Rather than the first way of modernism’s enthusiasms for distortion such as Picassean fragmentations and surrealism, or the second, of glorification of slick manufacture and the false faces celebrated in post modernism, this approach descends from the spiritual hopes and ideals of Kandinskean abstraction.
The "Third Way" is connected to the ideals of a value structure which puts life's animating spirit in the center of new paradigm ways of conception and function. At its strongest art has always had connections to the spiritual, and so, we move into the possibility of our first "spiritual renaissance," previously spoken of by Chopra and Thurman, which includes new ways of relating to art.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013


detail 2973

"For artists and intellectuals today, what is most needed is to be clear about social responsibility, because that's what most people automatically give up. Just to protect yourself as an individual is very political. You don't have to march on Tiananmen, but you do have to be clear minded, to find your own means of expression." - Ai Weiwei

And so, to be clear minded, I paint. Makes absolutely no sense, but there it is.

This week a new online connection, a buddhist writer, complimented my painting as “easing a tendency away from oppositional reactions....directly eliciting mood, most often,...... not of a static peace, but of an active and engaging contentment. You literally draw the viewer in to a field of play.” 

This is a great compliment because if I am able to create this space, even if “only” in a painting, then the work has real value, or at least my values integrated into it. There can be no peace without contentment, and peace is a primary value.

As much as I dislike requirements for justification because of how they seem so much of the time  to sap other more worthy adventures, they have uses, being as they are a seeming prerequisite for dialogue, in the world, as it is today. Regarding painting, this seems an odd preoccupation, being as we are, distracted with so many other emergencies that are so dire. And so, if these spaces are of peace and playfulness, which may be companions to new possibilities, then surely this is  good and useful service. 

That said, care of the most neglected dog is of more importance than housing the greatest masterpiece, because (s)he is alive, and paintings are inert materials, but not in the world we are in today. So much the worse for our spirits. Art is a tool for remembering certain things about life, not a false idol.

I paint for a world that holds the animating life spirit in reverence. I paint for a world I see in peace and solitude, not the surrounding one that seems to be real now. In painting I experience a flexibility and balance illusive to me in the rest of my living, though this is getting better.

It is time for dialogues with the still necessary narratives of history. Though “History is a nightmare from which we attempt to awaken” it has its uses for clarification, dialogue and envisioning change. The historical imperatives we are familiar with are useful in understanding what not to do, if it is possible that we may evolve to something better by envisioning new ways to live, if only in opposition to them. The dialectic of a way opposing what has happened in the past may have its uses.

It is always a good time for slipping glimpsers and now,  for balance, it is a good time for yin brushes. Now is a good time for baroque wabi sabi, a pendulum swing away from commercialized slick surfaces and all that they stand for, now is a time for romanticism, depth, and mystery, and nature's value rather than the devastations of industry. Now is a good time to consider the timeless.

To hold the life spirit in reverence is to move slowly, savoring every turn. It is to sing and dance rather than calculate or compete. Every one that lives is a singer or dancer or some other manifestation of the sacred, not only one of us in a million, but all of us, here, now and forever.