As usual, behind on this letter – Julie, thanks for reminding me, and your interest! I would rather be painting than writing, but then, I like to write, and if I’m not sounding off, who will sound for me?
The last five months have seen me busy in the studio, and busy also, alas, with health issues; my own, and members of my family. I suppose that guides the brush: sorrow often does. I’ve completed a large diptych for a client in San Diego, I’ve been featured in Wild Roof Journal and F3LL Magazine, exhibited a piece at the Minnesota Institute of Art, another at the airport (which I hope to see, if we can ever travel again) and along with a few other artists, jury-selected to provide a dozen small paintings for a developer in NE Minneapolis. I choose to do still lifes, which are providing me with relaxation and joy. Here’s a few.
I call the series, (most of which are tiny, at 11 x 11), “Still Life Finger Exercises,’ a name which might be resonant if any of you, like me, were trained on Hanon and Czerny as a young pianist. All that time practicing arpeggios when I could have been learning perspective! Perhaps thanks to a Jewish household that unconsciously disfavored depiction for cultural reasons, I was set to be a musician. Then I took my very first drawing workshop, at the ripe age of 22. The scales fell from my eyes (and my fingers) and although I still love to play the piano, it’s a good thing that when I sit down at the instrument, the composer is not in the room.
In truth, the composer should be in all of us. We should be painting to seek the “candor of stars”, I paint because everything is a little off-kilter, or sometimes more than a little, and I want to explore this, more often, than eat. I suppose I would paint, or do something, even if I had no chance to show my works to others. I like to do so, but I have fewer and fewer delusions about a piece’s impression, or importance. Regardless the initial éclat, everything fades away in time. Even Michelangelo will be forgotten, obscured through a reversal of discovery.
I also paint because I am disturbed by what’s around us, how we mislive our lives, how we mistreat others. How can I not try to call attention to society’s radical inequities? How could I permit myself the luxury of abstraction when we, for example, have multiple mass shootings in this country, every day? When we are making it a crime to bring a glass of water to a would-be voter, waiting in line? When we are doing this, doing that? One must take up a brush against lack of interest, indifference – even if entropy eventually wins.