Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chuck, Philip and Me

The movie, "Gerhardt Richter-Painting" was so inspirational to me.  I couldn't wait to get to Amazon to buy his biography.  I wanted more Gerhardt!  More, dammit!  More!

I didn't get it....  It was "$100.  For a book... on Gerhardt Richter.  Ok, if I had disposable income, I would get it.  Yes, if I had money to burn,  I would definitely get Gerhardt's amazing biography... that or shoes, kidding... kinda. 

So instead I got the "Philip Guston Collected Writings, Lectures, and Conversations," for $25.53 and the "Chuck Close-Life," by Christopher Finch, for $25.13.  I started Philps's book first, (because I really love his work), and his words ... hurt... my...brain.

He says stuff like;

(On Rembrandt)

"...there's an ambiguity of paint being image and image being paint which is very mysterious."
 (This I got...  I think.)

Then he says,

"Painting permits, utlimately, the joys of the possible, but the narrow passage to this domain of the possible suppresses any illusion of mastery.
Only our surprise that the unforeseen was fated allows the aritrary to disappear.  The delights and the anguish of the paradoxes on this imagined plane resist the threat of painting's reducibility.
The poise, the isolation, of the image containing the memory of its past and promise of change is neither a possession nor is it frustrating, The forms, having known each other differently before, advance yet again, their gravity marked by their escape from inertia."

(and finally...)

"Painting is a clock that sees each end of the street as the edge of the world."


I am going to have to wait till I am smarter to read this book.  Thus, I turned to the Chuck Close biography and boy am I am glad I did.  This book, is so much more accessible.  Plus, Chuck and I have soooo much in common.  There are so many things but, here are just three examples:
  1. He is an only child.  I am an only child. 
  2. His father died when he was young.  My dad died when I was young.
  3. His mom is named "Mildred", my mom is named "Mildred."
 Chuck Close,  Big Self Portrait, 1967-68, Acrylic on canvas, 107-1/2x83-1/2 in. (You have to see this in person.  It is almost 9 feet tall.)

Philip Guston,  Painting, Smoking Eating, 1972, oil on canvas, 77 1/2 x 103 1/2 in.


  1. Did you know he has that thing where he cannot recognize faces? and that is part of why he does portraits?

    and that other guy? talk is cheap

  2. The Guston book is exactly what I imagine art books and artist biographies to sound like....oh and artist statements too. This is why I have never read any of them. I guess I'm not pretentious...I mean, smart enough to read them too.