Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dog days

"A world within a world: Fletcher 2" oil on canvas panel
12" x 16" , 2012



For me, August has always been the most oppressive and forlorn of all the months on the calendar.  The days are hot, lazy, fat, and stagnant, with blistering, humid heat, yet, in our parts, usually drought-like conditions.  It's as if the days are pregnant with water, and yet never give birth to a tremendous storm that will release the sweltering, sultry heat.  I have abandoned my studio altogether for now, this summer.  The conditions grew unbearable, as if I were painting in an oven.  No fans or paltry old air conditioner could touch the incredibly claustrophobic and suffocating conditions.  Inside into the relief to paint non-figurative color studies and other related activities--it was the only choice I was left with.

During these Fletcher color studies, I have also ordered a large amount of books on art, philosophy, and cultural connections.  Some of the reading was pleasant, other books not so much.  As an artist, it is a constant war within my mind to grapple with and understand why I create, what is my place in the "machine," and which direction my voice should be aimed to echo into the darkness that is the unknown.  I do not believe that art should be created just for the sake of art, nor do I believe that the "mission" of my voice as communicated through my work is to sway people to my belief system.

Ultimately, I believe that art is a type of religion in itself, a connection from the physical into the metaphysical, and each piece connects with the viewer in a private way, so that they can contemplate not only the surface beauty, but the message and symbolism contained within the work.  Part of the struggle is finding the correct medium to convey both the emotion and the symbolism intended. I also believe art affirms order and beauty, even if the piece is ultimately about destruction, because there is a dark side to life, but, that is only one dimension to our existence, and not the dominant direction, at least not for me.  Life is inherently a gift, and not an absurd and meaningless proposition, so my goal as an artist is to chronicle that.

I know that the bulk of modern art is alienating and requires an intermediary to intervene on behalf of the viewer.  That reflects a degree of Catholicism in my mind, where I would need a priest to intervene and petition to God for me, and then communicate back the answer, the map of how I can gain cleansing through an accepted protocol of actions.  I recoil at that idea, yet, it is the norm of the day, in a culture that claims to be secular, we have embraced the same ideals that we so openly spurn.  How ironic. To me, tucking myself away and leaving the realm of the people, through elitism or any other apartheid, is depressing and not my goal as an artist.  So, I continue to push ahead, in the direction I feel I am called to move in, whether or not it is acceptable to the Establishment.

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