(and/or other Digressions/Conversations)
and/or other abstract impressions (digressions/conversations)
As an art student years ago, a fellow colleague in the course of a classroom session asked our Professor to talk about art instead of philosophy, current events, and life in general. The Professor answered “ Isn’t that what art is all about, life?” That question has accompanied me for many years, along with the counter part "What is even art or what comes first, art or life? ”.
I do abstract paintings. I think and hope they are what they are. Aside from asking myself what am I doing, I also ask what they might possibly have in common with a 15th/16th century old master such as Lucas Cranach or Breughel the Elder? I mean, abstract is abstract and I cannot second guess how anyone would perceive my paintings. All of my paintings are foremost inspired by nature. When I paint, I do not try to simulate nature in a recognizable representation. I use nature as a point of departure. The actual painting process is a metaphoric journey with allegorical attributions. I catch myself inserting “life” without attaching figurative associations, conceptual forms or themes. Life in the sense as a summary (past, present and maybe future) of who I am. While painting, feelings flow, such as fears, frustrations, inhibitions, anxieties, also joy, contentment and gratitude. Along with feelings, memories of past experiences, failures and accomplishments, manifest themselves.
I have realized that in the work process, as thoughts/feelings take on a current, they remain fragmented and are only insinuations of a whole. This often reminds me of conversations with people that, on the surface, relate a point or a meaning, yet leave so much out. To the degree where I ask myself “ How much is being not said ? “.
There is always a level of insecurity about when a painting is finished. Would it hold up to scrutiny? What would a Matisse or a Picasso or even Breughel say about my paintings? I tell myself that what bonds them and what I might have in common is that their work has a soul. I have realized that spirituality or soul is the essence of that original question (art and life) which was posed years ago when I was an art student.
By exposing (offering? investing?) my limited honesty, my humanity or my soul to (into?) the painting as I paint it, I find that it is reciprocated with a respect that might not be what I had (foolishly) conceptualized but rather as an entity with a soul in its own right. At this point when the painting glares at me saying I exist, I am alive, I have a soul and harmonize then I become humbled knowing that I have paid homage or tribute to the question of what is art.