Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Always I have tried to pack my canvases with meaning, which is to say emotion.  Painting from my imagination propelled the undercurrent of symbolism into my work.  Not an out-and-out type of symbolism, such as the little trinkets in Gauguin's work, or the myriad knickknacks scattered about in Classical paintings, like van Eyck, but a simpler symbolism of stroke.  Brushstrokes and color forms, that while not quite a thing, suggest the thing.  This is the emotion of angle, the symbolism of shape, the color of suggestion.

Schiele does this with his figures, a desirous Cardinal is large and imposing, forcing his way into the form of the penitent Nun, who reveals her own desire by a single hand on the cardinal's arm.  Both figures are kneeling- the ultimate symbol of Catholic purity.  With Schiele, I feel I know those characters in a way that I can never know a Hopper character, or a Degas character.  Some artists are about the form, some the situation, some the color, and some the character.  Of course any artist will use all of these tools, but I mean what the person is intrinsically about.
I cannot give up my symbolism, as it is the driving force behind my work.  That I am not very good at it matters none, there is always practice, but to change the root of my philosophy would be to make me not a painter.  I love form and shadow and color, but more, I love the face I'm painting, I love how it interacts with those artistic elements, I want to force my loves into blue and pink and square-rectangle-circle.
It is not to say that a painting without metaphor is meaningless, it is simply something different, some do not want symbolism or the mind in their sensual garden- I appreciate the desire, it is painful sometimes to always see more into a thing than there is.

This painting, Jaynish, exhibits a girl with the knack for making plants thrive. I gave her my most precious symbol, the eye-flower. This living, seeing flower represents for me the inimitable bond between human and universe. When the eye-flower is picked from the garden, the figure is ignorant of their own destruction; when the eye-flower springs from the earth, the figure is at peace with the world. I gave Jaynish a growing eye-flower which emerges, spirit-like from her hand, because this figure is a maker, a creator of her world. 

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