It is a state of pure possibility until it is defined. Form exists in an oppositional relationship with formlessness. The dissolution of form is not only a powerful compositional device but is also metaphorically potent. Form accommodates a need to embody an idea or a perception. Formlessness challenges that very need and questions our sense of the immutability of things as we know them. Form is a vessel. It can be open or closed.
Embrace the happy accident. All forms of painting, film, photography, sculpture, printmaking, and nonmechanical modes of production produce unintended results. When a passage of underpainting looks ravishing, or some studio calamity produces an arresting effect, embrace the accident and incorporate it into the piece. Exploit the unexpected consequences of experimentation and process. If you see it, own it.
“O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,
The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,
The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters,
The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers,
Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees,
Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark,
And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha
And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors,
And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,
Nobody’s funeral, for there is no one to bury.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away—
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing—
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”—T. S. Eliot — excerpt from East Coker
how do you feel about collage art, random pictures put together, and its meaning?
Collage art is a distinctive and possibly one of the most influential ways of creating art to ever exist — taking modern day supplies and heightening them to the status of art. Though, multiple unrelated images combined into a single image, do not necessarily create complexity (which is becoming more and more apparent, or I’m falling behind with the times). Unrelated images put together in the same space may be nothing more than unrelated images in the same visual field. It is the relationship of those individual images to each other and what those relationships describe that creates content. Collage and pastiche have become commonplace and easy in the digital world. Creating visual interest through the juxtaposition of unrelated images may not successfully create a complex description or coalesce into a unified affect.
You also dabble into photography from time to time which makes me curious. What's your preference to painting rather than photography?
Thanks for asking. Hockney said it best, “a camera cannot see what a human can see, there is always something missing.” In that, a photograph documents a split second in time that happens to have been caught on a camera. Whereas a landscape painting, portrait, or still life might appear to be a moment immortalized in a single image, but it is in fact a culmination of days, weeks and in the case of many artists (Cézanne, Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Hockney), years of looking at a single subject. It’s the result of vast quantities of stored information, experience, jottings and spatial study that has eventually appeared in colors, composition and atmosphere of a final finished artwork.
If ten people were to stand on a hill and take a photograph of the same view, from the same camera, the results would be nearly identical. If the same ten people sat down for a few days and painted the view, the results would be markedly different. Not because one individual may be more of an accomplished artist than another, but owing to the nature of humans: we can all look at the same view, but we don’t see quite the same thing. Which has been a common motif in my latest work. “Is this what I see?”
This is kind of lengthy, so to sum up my words, humans bring in their own unique mix of prejudices, tastes, experience, knowledge, etc, whereas a camera cannot capture reality better than any painter or sculptor.
Abstract comes from the world. It is less a distillation than it is an accretion. The material world impresses upon us images and patterns from the first moment we open our eyes. Composition, harmony, proportion, light, color, line, texture, mass, and motion are all vocabulary of sight. We tap into this vocabulary, and the patterns that go with it, when we compose or frame images. The commonality that allows us to respond to images, even abstract ones, is rooted in our ability to recognize infinite manifestations of the physical world and the mental constructs to which they correspond.