Monday, August 8, 2011

Gerhard Richter and Me

Funny how you can think you know what is going on...
Example, I thought (or maybeI hoped) that I was channeling Philip Guston but in fact it might really be more like Gerhard Richter.

  I love Guston’s figurative work.  I like how his later work is still about the lush beautiful paint like his... *

 *...abstract work  and yet it contains the figure.

I thought “I can do that,” and on a good day I can.  But a few days in, things change and the work gets tight.
You need a magnifying glass to see all the gushy paint I am getting a kick out of.  I start to feel tight and my work swings to the other side, thick and drippy.  Of course it can’t stay that way so I tighten up.  It is a constant      battle with myself and my work.  I mentioned this to my studio mate Tim Svenonius (who by the way did notice the Philip Guston I was channeling in my work).  I told him about this battle I was having with my subject matter and my technique.  He told me about Gerhard Richter.  I looked him up and lo and behold a fellow schizophrenic painter!
Example: these are both this works.

I know... WEIRDO

I was familiar with some of Richter’s work, but not enough to know this about him.  It is like he is two or three painters at once, sometimes almost photographic figurative work, and then some paintings are colorful, thick, gushy, not only abstract, but non objective paintings. 
Maybe I will have to just deal with painting the way that Gerhard Richter did and have two bodies of work going on, side by side.  According to my old painting teacher, Franklin Williams, many people work that way.  I’d have the main painting and a painting on the side.  Right now I have the large city painting that is heading for abstraction going front and center, and the cigarette series going on the side. I think my trepidation with going all the way abstract is that I am not sure how to do it.  I am heavy into observation.  The questions are clearly marked.  What are the questions in abstraction or non-objective work?  I know people might say the questions are the same as when you work with the figure.  I will have to handle it one of the two ways: I handle most things either dive in or wander in sideways while looking the other way.

1 comment:

  1. This is a good point for discussion. I think it's only the art marketing world that thinks you need a genre or a niche that you can fit into for other people to define you and to sell your work. Obviously many people break out of that box. Artists still get known for their main overriding famous style (Picasso Cubism) but their other work is appreciated. It's your process not ours ~ do what you love.

    It happens in music all the time. One of my favorite singers from way back, Chaka Khan is known for her dancy pop music--but she had a true love and respect for Jazz and did exclusively Jazz albums (and concerts) that got hardly any recognition in the greater industry. (one of her crossover tunes in Jazz to Pop is still one of my favorite pieces--Nights in Tunisia)