Jean Miro

96e4c74de4e5d5bcc75b5b21e9f75b6f

 

Quote:

“I struggle more and more to achieve a maximum clarity, force, and plastic aggressiveness–in other words, to provoke an immediate physical sensation that will then make its way to the soul.”

YES.

Advertisements
Posted in Art, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A matter of innocence

Etel_Adnan_TheShapeoftheMountain_TheParisReview_GP_2240_PinkWhale_RBG

I’ve been doing a bit of research on my new hero, Etel Adnan. One good source has been, believe it or not, Pinterest. I get to see/pin my favorite photos of her work and keep them for further viewing.

In addition, my research led me to an article by Negar Azimi in the Wall Street Journal on Why the Art World Has Fallen for 90-Year-Old Etel Adnan.

The article has some pithy quotes from Adnan. About her process, which verges on the existential, she says: “Once I put down a color, I never cover it up. If you are born a musician, why become a banker?”

and describing her current successes, the WSJ says:

The fact that artistic renown has descended upon a nonagenarian woman who paints tiny abstractions and writes poetry and prose of quiet force and complexity might seem like a historical accident. Today’s contemporary art market, after all, places a premium on large, shiny, expensive objects. Adnan’s work is the anti-Ozymandias—a corrective to exuberant art-world bling. There is none of the bravado or self-regarding mythologizing of other artists of her stature. And yet, invitations stream in daily for exhibitions, collaborations and symposia. “I am happy it didn’t happen any sooner,” Adnan says of all the attention, adding, “It’s ironic, isn’t it, at a time when I can’t really use the money.”

The claim is that she has defied the current climate of exuberant, large abstraction and kept a steady hand at creating paintings about a quiet, contemplative inner world, small in scale, big in that important inner dimension, allowing introspection and contemplation, along with an intense visual excitement.

Distilled down to the essence of her appeal, Adnan says it clearly:

“I always had a few people who liked what I did, and that was enough,” says Adnan, with a wry smile. “I do think I’ve kept my innocence.”

In addition to Adnan’s work, what I have found on Pinterest has been interesting, educational. There is a lot of good abstract painting being posted. I’ve found it challenging in that I think maybe I should be working like that, with lots of loose linear elements extending over the entire canvas. It looks good, enticing, but then when I get into my studio and try it, I realize I just can’t do that. I really do need a large amount of quiet space, a resting place to balance the active expressive marks that are needing more and more of my painting’s energy. I just cannot give it all away; I have to keep some protected space. And above all, my own personal integrity and ideally, innocence.

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

My new hero

9413-1024x683

Over the years I’ve had a few art heroes. Mark Rothko, Ellsworth Kelly, and of course, Rembrandt. I have been inspired by Diebenkorn’s early abstract paintings, but he isn’t a hero. I don’t know why he doesn’t transcend that boundary, from being great, inspiring, to being a courageous hero. I need to think about that.

But now, I have a new hero. Etel Adnan. Not only is her work brave, she is extraordinary as a person. A poet, writer, painter, intelligent in her life and work, and still producing great paintings and writing at 94. Amazing and inspiring.

Usually I wouldn’t comment on age or sex being inspiring and I wouldn’t if I didn’t resonate so much with her work. I know there is ageism and sexism in most fields, especially the visual arts, but I have always worn blinders, just kept going straight ahead. I do hope I will be “discovered” before it is too late but I know I would not feel alive if I didn’t paint. I don’t think it is her age that I find so inspiring, although that too is unusual. The work itself has a quiet power that is important to me. So, yes, Adnan is my new hero.

 

 

I

Posted in Art, Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Quirks

IMG_5290-X4

This morning I realized why Romeo is so intent on taking his stuffed animals outside, one after the other, especially after he has been away for a bit. He’s a herder. A Portuguese Water Dog, who has been bred to herd the fish, fisherman and buoys. He is just doing his job. It took me three years to figure this out. Just shows how little we know about others.

Reminds me of when I am working and trying to do something “different” and end up doing the same thing I usually do, more or less. I have my own handwriting style, my own painting marks, preferences and can’t seem to change that. Even if I really wanted to, which it seems, I don’t.  It’s my job to stay honest about who I am.

What does seem to be changing is the energy of the work. It is still mine, but different. Different enough to prod me on to know more. As long as I can appreciate what others are doing and who they are, that’s enough. I’ll keep being me.

Posted in Art, Romeo | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The pleasure/pain principle (in art)

Etel-Adnan-GL-9849-Untitled-1080x826

Etel Adnan,  “Untitled” (2014), Oil on canvas, 10 ½ x 13 ¾ inches (27 x 35 cm) (© Etel Adnan, Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.)

Recently I came across the art of Etel Adnan and have been smitten. It’s not just beautiful. It is more than beautiful. It seems to exist at that point where pain and joy connect. Without one, the other would not be so powerful or create such profound beauty, such important sensitivity.

The power comes not from the delineation of a message, telling of a story, expression of likes and dislikes, but the experience of it all without words. There is a Buddhist line in a text: “Good and bad, happy and sad, all thoughts vanish into space like the imprint of a bird in the sky.” Before they vanish, or maybe afterwards, there is great art. The acknowledgement and experience of the alternatives of every situation and feeling. That place of non-thought, just being with the pain and the joy, the good and bad at once.

The intersection, convergence of pain, suffering and the celebration of the goodness of being alive, of survival: that, to me, is where art communicates.

Posted in Art, Musings | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The honey pot

DSC_5163-L

“It’s Not What You Think, no. 3″; oil & collage on canvas; 60″ x 84”

At the end of a week workshop I taught in Mahone Bay last September, the group gave me a mason jar filled with little notes of appreciation. Since then when I feel low I dip into the jar, my honey jar.

Having been down with the flu for the past week, I found it lifted me up today. Little words that added up to a big feeling of gratefulness. Thank you, my lovely friends. It is always a joy to teach and especially when I feel I have communicated well.

So often I hear people repeat back to me what they think I have said and it is different from what I know I have said. Then I need to rethink what I was talking about to make sense of the misunderstanding.  When something is out of context, it can be very confusing. I know it is easy to misconstrue; I just need to understand what I was trying to say and why and how it went sideways. Then maybe I can restate what I was trying to say.

Sometimes what someone says I have said is better than what I know I must have said. The mind plays tricks on us when we listen to someone. Not only how much do we remember but also what have we really heard of what was said.

My dog talks mostly with his body and his understanding of mine and how and when I move. So much is communicated by what I am doing. He’s been good while I have been sick, knowing by my body language that I am not up to running around with him in the snow. But it has been over a week now and he is getting restless. So am I.

Communication is so important. We are lucky to have words, visual images and physical expressiveness. When all that is put together well, and understood, it is a big honey pot.

Posted in Art, Friends & Family, Musings, Teaching | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

After the exhibition

 

Totally exhausted is all I can say. Came home from Ottawa eager to get back to work. After a day home, one morning in my studio, and I have come down with a bad cold/flu. Nothing like the body to slow me down! I am enjoying lying around, sleeping half the day, reading and forgetting about housework. But I am getting a little restless, for sure.

The exhibit looks good. Up until March 20 at the Orange Art Gallery. Ingrid Hollander, the owner, does a beautiful job of placing the work. As well, I taught a two-day workshop. I had one day, Sunday, to play before coming home Monday. I’d like to say something profound here but my mind is a blank. So . . .

 

Posted in Art, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment