To be honest, my work is not that special—though certainly it is to me. I would like you, dear reader, to understand what it is about my own painting that you might find special.
To begin, here are some things that are not my objectives. I thought to begin that sentence by saying, “Here are things that my paintings are not,” but often a painting will display one of those unintended qualities, probably springing from my unconscious, or barely conscious, in spite of my intentions.
My paintings do not aspire to beauty, or even prettiness. They are not crowd pleasers. They do not mean to say:
Here is something pretty I found.
Here is a nice-looking rectangle to look at.
This is what the world is really like.
This is how I am feeling right now.
This is what a dream looks like.
Herein lies a tale
I want connection. On CBS Sunday Morning Willem Dafoe explained what thrilled him about a Van Gogh painting, in an interview about his role as Vincent in the movie At Eternity’s Gate. He moved his hands to show how he followed the artist’s motions in creating the painting and I was electrified to see someone else express that way of getting into a painting. That is the form of connection for which I strive.
A big piece of my pleasure in perusing art is kinesthetic. Something in me responds to the perceived actions of the artist. This may occur at a different level—not higher necessarily, just different--from that at which many viewers enjoy responding to art. My response is not that profound, nor beyond the reach of any attentive observer.
Kinesthetic response was a big piece of abstract expressionism; in work like mine it comes with an image, and this perceptual tension between identifying an image and recognizing the kinesthetics behind its production excites the brain and makes for an engaging experience.
Sometimes work like mine is mistakenly identified as impressionism. I say mistakenly because the impressionists created images by matching, daub for daub, the color and location on the canvas with the color and location of a patch of color in the world. They were exploring the world of light and color, and beautifully, but their interest was not to give the brain a modicum of detail and set it to work decoding chicken scratches into meaningful pictures. A minor point, I admit, especially since I might use impressionistic techniques now and again. It is the intention that is different.
I am not the only one painting like this. I cannot say how many of those doing similar work are deliberately teasing the brain for the same reason, but I hope I have done a good enough job of describing what I am doing to allow you to enjoy my work and also to find similar pleasures elsewhere.
Again, I make no claim to specialness. For what it’s worth, the only claim I can make is that no one else can be me and do this work. They have to be who they are.