It is now 2 pm on thursday. I had an episode today just like I do every time I start a new painting. The whole wave of doubt, fear and questioning that comes without fail. I was able to manage it somehow enough to move on. I am ready to get going and still waiting for my reference photos from the printer. I did play around with some line drawing, scratching out and reworking a few places, and I did prepare a canvas, but I feel dissatisfied with it all today. I really want to approach this with respect and gentleness, yet with power. It takes me awhile to prepare before I actually start. Thinking through what I want to convey, the best way to present it, chewing on it, getting the references together (and there aren’t photos of Jeff Buckley in the short span of his seven year career) just takes a lot of energy and time. It has always been this way for me. I am preparing to experience the same pain and tension I did on the Vincent piece, I know it, but every time, for some reason, I still do it.
Craig and I watched this documentary called "Imagining America: Icons of 20th Century American Art". It is about the transformations that took place in 20th-century America, told through the words and work of artists like O’Keeffe, Pollock, de Kooning…..folks from that era.
These documentaries are almost always replete with over philosophized interpretation by a number of art historians, who I can tell you are some of the weirdest people ever to live. To them every artwork has a deep, psycological meaning, or more often a deep Freudian context. When I was at ACA, my art history professor had a penile allusion for EVERY piece of art we looked at.
In these films there is always the old footage of the big ten sitting around smoking and drinking in their ‘boys club’ contemplating how great they all are and how they have ‘it’ and everyone else is crap. None of what they say makes any sense….unless you are CRAZY. Pollock wasn’t a verbal guy, so they didn’t have much audio of him, but some of the other guys……made no sense at all. It just sounds like nonsense. Bunch of pot smokers, or something…..
I remember getting a very rude awakening as a art student when I went to the High Museum in Atlanta, which was next to ACA. We got in for free as students. There was an grouping on pieces by some forgotten artist in contemporary section. These were ten or so pieces of plywood with the knotholes painted various colors. Depressing enough, right? Well, along with the ‘art’ was a huge artist’s statement ‘explaining’ the work and the philosophy of the work. Maybe most artists are so stupid that they have to make up some junk noone can understand to sound brilliant. It was my first eye openner to how low, low, low the world of fine art has sunk.
I like most of the artists in the documentary. It took me some time to appreciate their work, though. It would have been a much better film without the wacky art historians.