Monday, January 10, 2011

Recent Work with Lime Green Floral Background

I hung up rhe last of my recent prints today on the wall where I temporarily hang recent work. That wall also includes the newest watercolors as well as a few older watercolor sketches from this summer.

I guess about once a year I like to take a photo of this wall and publish it. And each year I think: "Boy that lime-green wallpaper sure is distracting." I always think I ought to tear if off but it never reaches the top of the priority list.

Why show a bunch of works, especially with this horrible background? The answer lies partly with art collector Albert C. Barnes and partly with the Paris Review. When I was young I used to read the interviews with writers published by Paris Review. I loved getting some idea on how writers actually worked. That's part of my motivation here: to show a collection of recent work all together. I think it might give some idea as to how I work for anyohe that's interested. It gives some context to my work.

And the eccentric Mr. Barnes? Well I doubt he really was all that eccentric. This was just a tag plopped on him by lazy journalists. You have to wonder if it wasn't the art establishment getting back at someone who had snubbed them and who had much better artistic judgment. It was that same artistic judgment that disallowed color reproduction of his collection.

Why? Because it's so misleading. At the time color reproduction was probably much worse than now but that doesn't account for qualities like scale, surface, texture that reproduction misses. Barnes was right to hold out for the primacy of the art itself. If you want to enjoy it, and if you really respect it, then go and see it live. See the real thing, not some poor reproduction.

He'd be sad to see that to day we live in the Age of Poor Reproduction. How many people even see live things, whether they be paintings or owls? Artists and nature lovers have something in common here. A respect for the real, not for the poor reproduction.

I'm not about to invite all readers of this to come by and visit my studio in the interests of a more 'real' experience. But at least by showing this group photo I give viewers some sense of the scale of the works. It's one small step toward reality.

When I lived in San Francisco I happened into a tourist gallery. There a salesman demonstrated an ersatz Rembrandt landscape with a light that illuminated it from behind, making the painting glow. I had to leave when I saw that. But that is exactly what a computer screen does. It illuminates paintings from behind making them more vibrant than they ever can be in real life. So ugly as my lime-green floral background is it does bring a dose of reality back into my work.

For real art, and real nature, visit a museum or take a walk in the woods. It's refreshing to see the real thing.

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