DAVID NOVAK - My Life and Time with Abstract Art

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For me all art establishes a process for validating human existence, however meaningless or meaningful it may be. Art unveils human experience as pure possibility. It is for this reason that esthetics, as attitude and perspective, makes life itself meaningful and tolerable. Wherever materials are given form, movement direction, line and composition life, 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 and aimless movement.

My paintings have no direct translation, that I know of, into the medium of words. There are no clues or signs embedded for someone to search out and gain access to a specific story. Producing visual literature is the furthest thing from my mind while I am at work in the studio. I investigate what can be empathized through seeing. Color, line, and mass carry this message. The specific effect of lines, the unique appeal of colors are precisely what they are and as they are seen.

The construction process of these paintings is highly improvisational; intuitive; hit or miss; trial and error. They are private to me and speak privately to a viewer as an individual. It is my belief that through this privatized ambience, a viewer will also find a private connection to them. Sometimes relevance is subliminal and requires incubation time for it to contract its knowledge to a viewer.

The privateness, in my view, is universal and not hermetic to a point of closure for the audience. They are objects of human contact; a method for allowing the privateness of one human being (the artist) to exist or be a reflector (mirror) for the privateness of another human being, the viewer; a meeting between minds and a meeting between emotions (feelings). They are an intellectual mirror. They are an emotional mirror. They are self-reflection devices for both artist and audience.

If the viewer misses the (contact) [envelope], then the process should be re-engaged [by both parties maybe?]. The obstruction can be corrected if concentration is re-established. Without effort and sincerity between both the painter and his audience, understanding gets lost. An agreement must exist that there is a universal connection between two human beings and their private worlds. A painting is capable of making such a private connection. To me a painting is capable of stimulating or touching-off a private experience as in a dream or pure sensation (feeling). This is what paintings are for me at their uncluttered and pure best. Subjective painting requires subjective associations moving in both directions.

When I address new work for the first time all philosophy and deliberation are set aside. I accept the essential features of automatism and chance as the energizing procedure to guide my movements and choices. Instinct and intuitition establish what color to use, what shapes to develop, what tools to use. The image structure is immediate and responsive to an inner and deep undefinable magic. The work records this activity. A painting evolves as a tangible monument to an intangible plan.

What I like most about automatism and chance is the openness. The creative process is direct, candid, immediate, and unrehearsed. I will exploit the accident whenever it appears during the process. I will exploit chance heavily when an impasse is reached and I don't know how to continue working; like shooting craps. Some say that to allow a painting's existence to be defined only by the laws of chance, places esthetics into the realm of gambling. I agree chance removes intelligence from working decisions. However, I also believe the procedures involved in making a painting are not simplistic, but complex. They involve an artist's entire human seasoning. Future work on a painting uses chance as a major thrust to unlock the subconscious and attach this to its development

In my mind subjects can vary, and in the end are of little importance to my life as an artist. What is important to me is to remember that my art production is about ideas. They are concept, proposal, belief, and reason. They are personal mirrors for me and hopefully personal mirrors for my audience. There is no way to predict how many times a single painting needs to be subjected to passive examination (study) and active work (production) before a closure is reached, or reasoned to be reached. Throughout the process, judgements are made which are both conscious and subconscious patterns of reasoning. The final closure of an individual painting becomes a collection of marks which reports its existence in the magical realm of art. Ideally a viewer, including myself, searches into this existence and discovers a means to empathize with what is there. If this happens then I have succeeded.
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