January 28, 2007

Permission Given...

2001- Auld 2 - 48x24

You've heard the line "SoAndSo GAVE me permission to _________ ," as it pertains to creative innovation. I've used it myself, though leery of sounding elitist as if 'BigNameArtist' and I are on technique sharing terms. Yet it does mark a point in time when the mind was opened to new possibilities previously not thought of or considered taboo.

For example the gestural graphite lines I must mark my canvas with... not at the beginning of the painting... but once I consider it finished. Cy Twombley gave me permission! I'd known his work but had never seen such an abundance of it in one place until I discovered his museum at the Menil Collection in Houston some years ago. I'd been impressed by the nearby Rothko Chapel but it was literally like going from night to day to leave Rothko and meditation behind, walk into the Twombley museum and experience what I considered a celebration of life. I soaked it up!

Now, no one will ever accuse me of painting like Twombley... but being influenced by another artist is more than copying a style... it's a connection on a much different level. A line, a color, a gesture... something I saw that I needed to explore, to see where it would lead to into my own work. My gestures aren't anything like his, were never meant to be, couldn't be if I insisted! But he 'told me' that it isn't about the line or the smudge... it's the message the line or smudge conveys. The line is energy, to me it says 'this is my painting and I can scribble on it if I want to!' It's my presence, my mark, it's me. I once had a large painting propped on the hearth and my son arrived to pick up his three year old daughter... glanced at the painting and with a shocked expression asked if Paige did that (meaning the pencil marks on the finished painting.) No, no, noooo.... I did that! One wonders how many potential buyers were turned off, wondering the same thing, but... I swear... the work doesn't feel finished until I've "made my mark!"

The photo above shows intended scratches as part of the painting as they began to integrate into surface during the process. But look closely and see the graphite marks in the lighter areas.


Marina Broere said...

loved reading about your connection with Cy Twombly. At a recent visit to Moma to see Brice Mardens' show (wonderful) I had to take a closer look too at the 4 seasons painting of Twombly in the hall and admire the way he mixes paints and scribbles - very inspiring!


MMComstock said...

Love this painting, Karen. That could hang on my wall any ol' time! (Assuming I had a big enuf wall!)