Saturday, October 13, 2018

Charlie's Go Round

Charlie's Go Round

2018, oil on linen, 16" x 12"

The initial idea for this painting came to me during a conversation about art with an old friend. We had just finished dinner at a Mexican restaurant when he asked me what criteria was used by critics and curators to determine an artist's importance. He continued to say that in his opinion the contemporary art he saw - even in highly respected venues -  varied greatly in quality, ranging from sublime to superficial. He didn't understand why it was that way. My insight was expected.

Though I've read more than my share of art criticism and theory, the question can certainly be baffling. In the course of art history, there have been many movements, many responses to the human experience, that have created an expanding complexity of thought about the nature of art. When I consider works of the Renaissance, there does appear to be more consistent discretion by the patrons toward the abilities and reputations of artists. However, the definition of art was much more narrow then, with rules limiting what an artist could do.

Other than offering those obvious thoughts, I really had no easy answer for my friend. He was looking as glum as a portrait of Emiliano Zapata nearby on the wall. Fortunately, the flan arrived. 

The painting within this painting came out of that discussion - I was doodling some sort of arcane explanation on a paper napkin - though its original concept in my mind was pink and black:

There are three drawings related to this painting, all similar except in size; here's the second one:

drawing #2

2018, pencil on graph paper with pastel tone on reverse, 12" x 10"

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"There is more power in telling little than in telling all."
- Mark Rothko

“The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meanings are unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.”
- Magritte

"Now, the idea is to get everything right -- it's not just color or form or space or line -- it's everything all at once."
- Richard Diebenkorn

“What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal but rather the unconscious,
the mystery of the instinctive in the human race.”
- Amedeo Modigliani