Sometimes I envision of the act of painting as play and desire to establish in a painting a sense of play like that of a child's mind experiencing something. When children are at play, the visions and feelings they create in their minds are very real to them. When I paint, the visions and feelings I create in my mind are very real to me. The struggle is to encapsulate this vision in tact and give it a special life in a painting. An impossible task!
When I am at work I am not concerned with any programed logic. I am concerned with an internal logic peculiar to a specific painting. At times I loose track of this internal logic and how it relates to what I have set out to do, --even my starting plans are loosely defined.
I can sense when this derailment happens. One of two things now happens: 1) I will try to meet the delema head-on and try to bring back the sense of original order. Sometimes this works and I continue without difficulty. 2) Most of the time the entire situation colapses around me creating a great sense of anxiety and sometimes anger. As I fight to regain this lost organization in the painting, I either push the issue beyond repair and the painting is for-ever dead, or I keep prodding; all the while knowing inside my head of an onrushing death of this painting. Past experience has taught me to keep on working even tho my first instinct is to stop. About 50% of the time I will suddenly have an "Ahah!" experience, then plunge into establishing this vision. By listening to the internal voices of the canvas and acting upon it, a reincarnation takes place; the Pheonix rises out of the ashes! I am more interested in satisfying these internal needs [voices] within a painting as defined by the context of the parts within a specific painting as I develop it, than I am about satisfying my own internal needs. I don't feel my "self" needs to be satisfied during the act of painting. I am never satisfied with anything I produce anyway. But each painting individually has needs to be satisfied, and it is my job to do this.
The first step toward plastic creation as well as its appreciation is to recover immediacy and innocence of the eye, and to live for the moment of observation in what is visually there. For many, I believe, painting is merely a photography in color in which the lines and forms are clear and fine; refer ences are clear and easily understood. For my painting I am not interested in representation at all, but presentation. I want my painting to be completely nonverbal in reference and devoid of any literary or narrative content. I do not intend nor want to tell stories with my art. Producing visual literature is the furthest thing from my mind when making a painting. I am interested in what we can see, what we can enjoy seeing, what we can feel through seeing. In painting this consists primarily of color, line and mass. In one sense it is hopeless and futile to discuss painting at all in words. As well one might try to render in words the experience of a Bach fugue in a logical formula. The specific effect of line, the unique appeal of various combinations of color are precisely what they are and as they are seen. No translation into the medium of words is adequate.
My paintings are two dimensional constructions involving four dimensions; length, width, depth, and time. Of these four, time is the most difficult one to deal with in terms of content for the subject of a painting. For me time is a "pure" abstraction, like sound. In a painting it cannot be isolated and examined with any known scientific apparatus. It cannot be photographed. Time brings into play the concepts of past, present and future. Our very existence is measured by time; existential time. Existential time in its very structure is aesthetically oriented. That is to say, oriented toward the actual, the immediate, or the now. In all its exertions, existential effort reaches out for the intrinsically valued, the immediate, and the directly felt whether it achieves them or not. Time thus, "runs" in order that it may "stop," and the very chase must be lived-in, savored in its immediacy; to be loved and enjoyed for its own sake. A finished painting marks an end of a time interval regarding its making, but has no end in time, physically, in terms of its esthetics existence; past, present, and future become one and the same existentially.
How does this relate art-to-life and life-to-art? In the first place, if we look upon the time of existence as problematic (which it is), and search for something even remotely resembling a solution to this problem in our experience, we could do no better than to take a close look at art. Not that art is or can ever be the solution to the problem of existence, but it bears all the earmarks of an ideal methodology for examination of the subject. It offers the most illuminating analogy. It also permits a perspective on life which makes life meaningful without resort to the usual criteria of meaning and unmeaning.
The very structure of the time of our existence is such that, as Sartre has said, we are what we are not, and are not what we are. Nothing is ever in our grasp. The now of our existence is like an empty place which serves only as a fulcrum for the effort of going beyond. With us, "it takes time" for anything "to last", and "to last" involves "passing away." The time of our existence consists of a present forever fading and decaying into at best a memory, making way for a future, which in the very nature of the case, can never arrive. Even the future, as a matter of fact, is a sort of prospective memory, as the past is a retrospective one. Our sense of identity requires that we "remember where we are going," no less than where we have been.
For me all art places on exhibit a way of validating existence, however meaningless or meaningful it may be. It unveils before us value not in its preferential, enlisted forms, but as pure possibility. It is for this reason that esthetics, as attitude and perspective, makes life itself meaningful and tolerable. This is the central issue associated with the conceptual foundation that keeps me making, in a retrospective view, a seemingly endless set or sets of paintings in endless combinations of dialectic renewals. Where ever materials are given form, movement has direction, life has line and composition, we have intelligence and transformation of a given chaos into a desired and desirable order that we call art. Experience, apart from art and intelligence, is wild and orderless. It is formless matter, aimless movement.
The peculiar composure and independence of the art object come into clearer view when we see that it is in the order of a presentation, rather than a representation. A representation, as the very word seems to say, presupposes another thing somehow made to reappear under the guise of the art object. A representation is unoriginal by definition. The essential characteristic of the art-object is precisely that it is original; a first presentation of a possibility truly felt and imagined. It can remind us really only of itself, even if, in the process, we may remind ourselves of nonaesthetic things and events extraneous to it. Abstraction is realism! Realism is abstraction! Abstraction is realism is abstraction is a quandary!
Everything in the art-object stands fully realized, unchanging, and in full view. Nothing is inessential. Everything is required. A single line, a dab of color, a sound; all are constitutive and uneliminable from the whole. Here relationship to other lines, colors, or sounds, as well as to the whole, is never one of mere adjacency, correlation, or probability.