STALKING THE BRUSHSTROKE

By Gabriel Thy • Uncategorized • 21 Apr 2008

The difficulties in your work may increase your present tendency to edginess, even to the blues. See to it that your problems do not bear on your home life. Force yourself to change your ideas. Make sure that your view of things is not tendentious. Distinct sensation of heaviness in your legs. In your work give precedence to flexibility and easiness, for you’ll probably try too hard to achieve a gigantic project which you’ve been dreaming of since a long time, and some people will not see this with a good eye.

SO GOES TODAY’S Facebook Chinese astrology hint about the artistic struggles in my life. Frankly it reads almost as if I had made a keen diary entry in my private book of struggles, even to my load-bearing right knee which went lame about two days ago, and is giving me much pain, so much so I’ve decided not to enter studio today, but rather, spend time here on my laptop addressing a few persnickety theoretical issues in my own painting and those inherent problems in carving out a career in painting at this stage of the current Pop Renaissance movement. Allow me to explain:

Art as feckless retreat from industry that is no longer available. I do what I do. I am DADA II. Look around yourself. Prove to me you aren’t DADA II as well, and have been for decades, if not generations…

All systems have been defined, fulfilled, and taken to the wood shed. Style is simply rote penmanship, but says nothing about the world unless the painter insists with theory and thumbnail that each mark is as meaningless and mundane as the one never imagined. It’s time we understood the basics of ego, and applied that understanding in each of our conversations with the sputtering sand gnats of society, great and small. That includes those who talk only to themselves, begging confirmation at any cost. Please excuse me, I must now prepare my next box of carrier pigeons for their stool.

Okay, here is another queer statement oozing from the closet of my own strapping insinuations:

ART, IT IS SAID, RESIDES in the eye of the beholder. Clever critics may muse otherwise, but the ever diligent [conjugating] cogniscenti in fact, mostly fail to disprove this rather quaint truism. A work of art is also considered extremely personal to the artist himself. Even so, the seminal time-tested idea of creating the “compelling picture” regardless of subject matter, school of thought, or individual style is the driving force behind all genuine artistic motivation, whether that motivation be theoretically contrived or deemed naive by the tastemakers of the hour.

The articulation of a compelling “idea” or “emotion” is important but secondary since all art is subjective; in the general sense that the “picture” not prove interesting or compelling, then that idea or emotion is lost in a scenewash of indifference. Shifts in time and culture often betray the original significance of a work of art, and all that is left is a picture and the searing questions: is that picture compelling, or not? This is reality writ large. Conjecture and critical posturing, despite their obvious power, must of necessity, bow to the whims of the changing observer since compelling art usually outlives both its creator and its contemporary critics.

We are living in a dangerous, rapidly accelerating, greedy, image-saturated sub-atomic culture. There is no time left to paint paintings, write poems, or sing hymns to false idols. All of modern civilization cries out for redeeming action, even as the weary soul sighs, and prays for rest. Humanity has simultaneously witnessed too much, and remarkably nothing, at all. This political contradiction describes the artistic inertia of our heavy times, and informs my own artistic vision.

In short, one impetus to my work is a study in observing the observers. Another might simply be stated in Miro’s terms of attaining the maximum intensity with the minimum of means. In many ways, I think Picasso’s remark that his paintings are a pictoral diary of his own life, describes my own approach, especially in the more symbolic work.

Greatest influence: my own quivering brush hand and booby-trapped subconscious kicking and cajoling to make itself known.

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