Monday, February 1, 2016

slow swirl

Snow falling.  Not here at all.  But it is in other parts, like in my memory of a winter when I spent the evenings reading James Breslin's biography of Mark Rothko.  I needed that snow to fall, for the sky to darken, so that I'd come to a better understanding at that time of how Abstract Expressionism happened.    

Rothko and DeKooning and their pals were my heroes due probably to a childhood visiting the Art Institute of Chicago.  You see, the gallery space devoted to the avant garde at that time was still loyal to Abstract Expressionism.  The earlier abstract work was mostly European, more formal, and down the hall.  These Europeans felt small to me.  They felt grey under the influence of world wars.  The A E by contrast felt angry and free.  And by the time I'd begun creating my own abstract paintings that winter of 1997 I'd realized how little I knew about the artists beyond what was described in Art History books.  And well, I loathed then like I loathe now all Art History books.

To learn about Rothko was for me to learn about them all.  Rothko chose to be a painter.  Others thought he was wasting his talents.  He painted whenever he could, with whomever he could.  He tried mimicking what his master, Max Weber, instructed aspiring painters to do.  This took him far, as can be seen in the image at the top.  But it was during a middle life year after many attempts in varying directions that he paid closer attention to what and how children paint (he taught a children's art class).  Painting became a question of how orange would look next to red.  Painting for Rothko no longer aspired for complexity and instead led him thru a discovery of much simpler, more authentic questions of play.

I'm pleased to announce that Gallery Shoal Creek of Austin will be hosting a solo show of my newest work in oil.  Yes, it will include some recent watercolors.  The show's opening will take place on Friday, April 22nd.  

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