oil on panel
6" x 12"
18" x 34"
"I can do whatever I want any old time."
Post-modernism is a distrust of established canons in art but not limited to art. It re-evaluates all western values. The effects of this movement caused a paradigm shift prompting discord with conservatives here and abroad from right-wing Christians to the Taliban. Examples of artistic deconstruction of traditional artistic practice are the Dada Movement (Duchamp), Fluxus, and Performance Art to name a few. One act which shocked and then delighted me is when in 1952 Willem DeKooning erased a Robert Rauschenberg drawing. It seemed like vandalism rebelling against a statement, negating it, pushing a fellow artist off the top of a mound like an alpha male. It was a collaboration, Rauschenberg approached DeKooning who didn't like the idea, reconsidered, and then said he wanted it to be "something he would miss." It is an example of letting things go. In drawing one can erase as much as draw, and additive and subtractive method as in sculpture, so this action still has its roots in traditional art. DeKooning picked a picture with oil paint in it so it took Rauschenberg a month to erase it. The work elicited a scandal. This interview with Rauschenberg about the event is very interesting.
My work is fairly traditional as all painting tends to be seen now. I vacillate in my approach as I don't feel the need to adhere to any rigid definition and can paint as I please. While I have responsibilities like everyone else, artistically I feel as the Rolling Stones say in I'm Free, "I'm free to do what I want any old time." It's something one wants to shut. Even if one's song (one's creative output, oneself) is imperfect, out of time, there is value in it. Written in the sixties, the song's reference to love reflects the need for acceptance despite social rebellion, the desire to be loved as is.
On one of his visits to Penn, painter/teacher/critic Andrew Forge asked all of us young painters if we could think of a painter who Pollock [a fun Pollock inspired website lets you move your curser to make Pollock drip patterns] makes us see in a new way. Also what particular qualities do we see anew? The questions show how contemporary life can inform how we view history just as history reaches out into the present. It is impossible to be extricated from one's time. I said that Pollock changes how we see Vuillard in terms of passion and movement in paint handling as well as pattern.
Despite artistic freedom, our time leaves its mark. It is said that Americans have such a rich range of experiences and viewpoints but when an American is in a different country, say a Texan and a Connecticut Yankee, they are unified and easily identified by some quality that is strictly American. My work shares this phenomenon. It is American but its hard to say why. Maybe its the aspect of freedom and the particular places I paint. While having parameters, a set of "givens" (elements of design, a surface to paint on, etc.) there is choice. "I'm free to do what I want..."