Friday, March 6, 2009
Oil on board, 6" x 6"
$125 plus $6 shipping in U.S.
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Even in these realist paintings, I always search for the abstract. I believe good representational work gains its power from abstraction. The underlying vocabulary of design, color, light-dark values, spatial relationships and character of the paint is critical to the painting's visual coherence and impact. These elements are not just coldly formal concerns--they also carry emotional weight. In fact, they are probably more important to conveying feeling than whatever the subject might be.
Non-artists often think the significance of a representational painting resides only in what is depicted, so subject becomes all-important. This allows them to sometimes make blanket pronouncements that make no real sense, such as: "I don't like paintings of pears." Here's a way to think about it in musical terms: if the words to a song can be thought of as its representational aspect, then the melody is the underlying abstract language. How many songs can you think of that convey everything there is to know just in the words alone?
Of course the point I'm driving at is that one needs to look deeper than subject alone to find significance in a work of art. And you shouldn't try to separate the realist from the abstract--they are really two sides of the same coin. In fact, I think they're both on the same side.