Sunday, February 28, 2016

MAR - Revisiting Cezanne

"When one has a sorrow that is too great, it leaves no room for any other." - Emile Zola

"To paint is to enter the world rather than suffer it."
 - Richard Shiff, "Cezanne's Physicality: The Politics of Touch"

I was meandering through my old sketchbooks this week and came upon some notes from Richard Shiff's excellent article on Cezanne. Having recently devoured "L'Oeuvre" by Emile Zola (widely considered to be based in part on his friendship with Cezanne), Shiff's words seem more resonant now than ever. Below is an excerpt from that sketchbook.

...Shiff describes Cezanne as a "painter who interacted with paint surfaces rather than seeing through them." (p. 69) The language of paint - its physicality and its inherent ability to communicate beyond the written word - is an essential aspect of my work and process. It is impossible for the surface qualities of a painting not to play a part in the experience of viewing it - particularly in contemporary work where the precedent for tactility has already been established. Cezanne, however, was among the first to portray a reality that was more tactile than visual, more physically 'real' than illusionistic. As Shiff writes, "a painting by Cezanne, however many qualities of visible objects it may seem to capture, requires touch for its explication; it never attains the visual integrity, distance, and completion of the panorama." (p. 148) 
The surface quality of my paintings, as well as my desire to occasionally let the paint exist solely as paint, is chief among the reasons I do not claim to be a realist. My depicted reality is not the objective reality of Shiff's panoramic photographs. While accurate observation is paramount in my work, the physical qualities of the paint are as important as the depicted image. Moreover, although I deal in representational imagery, the paint itself is why the final image manifests itself as a painting as opposed to any other contemporary available media...

Surface is something of an ever-shifting goalpost for me. I still oscillate between the visceral juiciness of alla prima and the visual richness of pentimento. There is a certain satisfaction in not knowing, in still having more questions than answers each time I enter the studio. Omnia exeunt in mysterium. 

Back to work. Next week is an Open Studio Night, and I have to finish the hat. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

MAR - Empathetic Drawing with Emil Robinson

above drawing by Emil Robinson

Last night I had the great privilege of attending "Empathetic Drawing": a public demonstration by the superbly talented and ever eloquent Emil Robinson. Emil is an artist and educator, and he is truly one of the finest colorists I've ever met. Every time I see his work, I have the overwhelming urge to expand my palette. Emil makes the paper glow through his masterful use of color, and his figures are rich with gravity, elegance, and the illusion of breath. His enthusiasm is as contagious as his depth of knowledge is vast. Watching his process never fails to inspire.

Emil's drawing in progress, during the first break

some of my favorite moments 

To see more of Emil's work, check out his website here: 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

MAR - Manifest Drawing Center

     Thank you to everyone who came to the Manifest Drawing Center last night! It was lovely to meet so many new people, and of course it's always a joy seeing familiar faces. :) This place has really become a home-away-from-home for me; seeing a room full of people excited about (and willing to support) this fabulous institution was a real pleasure.

     If you are interested in the Drawing Center, please like us on Facebook: