Monday, May 17, 2010
Abstract Painting: 1
It would seem to me that many painters struggle with the question of “what to paint?”. Abstraction is usually the fall-back answer but even in abstraction the question persists when confronted with the history of Abstraction; particularly in the West. In an article on the Abstract painter Jack Tworkov, published by Fairfield Porter (Art News 1953), Porter quotes the painter stating that, “If I knew what I wanted to paint, I surely would love to paint that.” Porter goes on to say, “…he (Tworkov) does paint what he wants to paint, but he is not conscious of the desire in advance. Though there are periods when the painting proceeds without a thought, mostly it is correct to say that he is always thinking about painting while he is painting. The act is conscious.”
This is, in my mind, Abstraction in a nutshell-unconscious desire paired with conscious action; the constant awareness of the properties and limitations of the material and the cavernous passages of intention and the subject. I believe that the desire must be unconscious in order for one to become a servant to the painting. The painter comes to the surface with a notion, a system, or a method but within the painting process (the action) must surrender to the materials and the spirit. If one approaches the painting with one too many ideas, the intuitive spirit will collapse and the painting will fall into a muddy state. Potential success for any painting is not what to include but what to deduce.