American, b. 1932
Having spent a teaching career lecturing about other artists’ private motivations and predilections (History of Modern and Contemporary Art), I prefer to let others unravel mine. As for what is going on in specific works, I suggest that it will vary with the experience that each observer brings to the transaction. In any case, you and the work are on your own. Just “Let the Big Horse Run!”
SOME (none-too-helpful) OBSERVATIONS:
A critic once described my work as “clearly enigmatic.” I was delighted. She nailed it! I don’t have a tolerance for paradox, I relish it. Paradox, along with irony, ambiguity, contradiction, calamity, absurdity, satire, etc., etc. (in packages that are somehow amazing enough to engage visually, emotionally and intellectually), are subtexts of interest that would not benefit from additional comment here.
While subject matter in the work is ubiquitous, I prefer that it also be ambiguous enough to allow variable interpretation. I am willing to let the stories tell themselves uniquely to each observer, while I agonize over arcane nuances of formal impact and vitality. Similarly, topical references used as subject matter, while frequently employed, remain overtly covert. Didactic interpretation is encouraged but consistently left entirely to the viewer to formulate and articulate. On the other hand, I regularly intend to have the work acknowledge and resonate the dramatic cultural contradictions that surround us. Ah, paradox!
The artists I most admire had ardent career-long affairs with contradiction. i.e. Matisse, Guston, Motherwell, Hartley.
I am intrigued by the idea of making it, the it being the work, made primarily for myself, although I admit to being greatly pleased when someone else is an interested witness. With respect to legacy, I defer to Wittgenstein "If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present." That is where I prefer to keep my creative efforts - squarely between the past and future (both being quite near my studio.)
So, there you have it. What is obvious isn’t certain and vice versa, while Art, like life, is a curiosity. I hope you enjoy looking as much as I enjoyed the making. tp
FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT:
A taste for paradox and/or dynamic non-resolution is central to the philosophies of Laozi, L.P. Berra, Heraclitus, Bhartrhari, C. Atlas, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and G.K. Chesterton, among many others. Søren Kierkegaard, for example, wrote, in the Philosophical Fragments,
“But one must not think ill of the paradox, for the paradox is the passion of thought, and the thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion: a mediocre fellow. But the ultimate potentiation of every passion is always to will its own downfall, and so it is also the ultimate passion of the understanding to will the collision, although in one way or another the collision must become its downfall. This, then, is the ultimate paradox of thought: to want to discover something that thought itself cannot think.”