Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Everything Painting

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This still-untitled work is in oil, about 60" by 84", and began with my most traditional process of two or three sessions with a model. Like the last major painting, there is a distinct implication of perspectival and atmospheric distance that the figurative forms occupy. Here, the connection to a real person, and a much more specifically conceived invented landscape are more apparent.

I am flirting with surrealism here, not to mention eroticism, but these evolved out of working with it. To me, it's closest affinity is with Excavation, by DeKooning. It has the same figurative sources, the same push to all-over abstracted form tiling, but re-embraces classical painting spatiality.

Which may be why these are taking so long - I have to decide where every abstract bit hangs in space, without much of a mimetic guide other than skin in light and shadow, and there almost no sketches. It was worked like a high modernism - trial and error, excavating the form.

The model's relationship to the image grew particularly stretched in terms of imagery, but her compositional positions were critical and largely survived. I have several earlier versions I may post later.

This working title of "The Everything Painting" is due to it's somewhat hopeless attempt to find a sweet spot between figurative realism, all-over abstraction, classical landscape (there is an ocean and a ground and a distant mountain range under there) and I'm afraid to say surrealism, in the sense at least of dream imagery. I generally dislike surrealism, with the exception of Yves Tanguy, because it tends to feel false and forced to me.

What I do like is any painting that successfully creates an embracing idea-atmosphere, where the emotions and the logic of the work are inseparable, powerful, and specific to the terms of painting.