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Week 28: Day - To - Day Painting Mystery in Everyday Life

Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist. René Magritte

On May 31, 2020 Christo's death was announced. Many on the east coast know his name because of the The Gates, vinyl gates erected along 23 miles of Central Park He and his wife, Jeanne-Claude collaborated all their work prior to her death in 2009. Their artwork, which often seemed to combine sculpture and theater, expanded everyone's concept of public art. Sometimes the work had clear political references and other times it seemed to be almost vacuous. Regardless, everyone who saw the work, even a reproduction of the work, was stimulated. Everyone remembered seeing it. The installation in Central Park a few years back drew huge crowds who, despite all the representations in the media, they wanted to have that first hand experience of walking through those gates of glowing saffron. His work was often controversial. I always found it fascinating. It always spoke to me of mystery. I clearly recall seeing earlier work while in art school, I was so struck by the wrapped and tied "packages". I had no idea of what was in the package and it sparked wonder and curiosity and in some cases a sense of vulnerability and transience. I do not create public art, but I share the intention of using art to witness to the mystery in our shared world. My intention in painting is to create works that gently draw the viewer into an introspective state of mind, Looking back to the work completed during the end of December and the beginning of 2020. ​After all the delicacy in the work completed in the prior week was bound to result in something like this painting ! Pow!

completed 12/19/2019

What I’m trying to translate to you is more mysterious; it is entwined in the very roots of being, in the implacable source of sensations. Paul Cezanne

Each of us has had the experience of standing in wonder at the beauty created by the trees and the light while walking in the woods. We can remember experiencing a sense of mystery. Some movement grabs our attention and then is gone. As we walk we set our sights on something that is just up ahead, and then as we draw nearer, that something is gone and we walk on trying to identify what caught our notice. So it is with artwork. Visual artists use the formal elements; color, line, value, repeating lines etc. to create an emotional resonance in the viewer. For many of us creating an impression is more important than representing what we see. This is especially true of "representational" artists. I completed this piece on the Solstice. I was thinking about how we know light exists even when we are in the darkness. Even if we cannot see the colors revealed in the light we can remember them, hold onto them and bring them to everyone we meet. I encouraged my viewers on Instagram to "See the light. Be the light! Happy Solstice! "

Christo's work, which began in Paris during the 1960s was interested in how the media informs the public consciousness. He and Jeanne-Claude belonged to the “Situationist” movement which sought to disrupt the understanding of the viewer by appropriating common place images and changing them in some way so that they were reinvented in the minds of the viewer. Again, while my work in no way resembles theirs, I too share an interest in portraying the extraordinary through the ordinary. I try to bring my viewers to a new consideration of the world they are living in. I took a few days off... travel and Christmas and birthday celebrations... when I approached the page I wasn’t sure where to start or what to do. I will say there have been a lot of significant life events going on around me and of course the new year approaches. This painting feels like a light in the darkness to me, a breaking through of some sort. May you feel joy.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. Albert Einstein

We happen to be at the moment, in a critical time when we should raise our voices and take any and all actions to restore justice. However, at all times, artists have a responsibility to hold up the message being broadcast by society, perhaps to challenge, and always to question the message. ​I do not say this because I believe artists are purer or more intelligent than anyone else. I say this because as artists we regularly stand outside of society. We have to remove ourselves from everyday society, to work in solitude. At the beginning of the year, my life was full of ups and downs. I tried to consciously greet everything with equanimity. I think this piece speaks of outer turbulence and an inner core that is not changed by outer events.

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” Francis Bacon

Imagine yourself returning to a party, a meeting or a group of people where you were actively interacting, until you were suddenly and temporarily drawn away. As you re-introduce yourself into the group, you listen for a while. You realize that you are not in the same flow as everyone else. Imagine that you hear somebody say something and recognize that your reaction differs from the others. You bring in a different viewpoint because you stepped out of the flow, out of the group think. I propose this as a metaphor for the position of artists with regard to society. We take ourselves apart. In doing so, we automatically put ourselves in the outsider's point of view. It becomes part of our role to reflect the differing points of view and hope that it encourages others to consider alternative explanations from the ones the media and society bombard us with daily. ​ I’m not saying that this is solely the provenance of artists, only that taking the outsider's view is easier if you withdraw from the everyday goings on. Many people withdraw from the world in order to look back at it with a new perspective. ​This last piece completed on 1/3/2020 also refers to an inner space. all of the activity and color and broad strokes converge upon the tiny mark in black which circumvents an empty space of stillness.

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