ART, IT IS SAID, RESIDES in the eye of the beholder. Clever critics may muse otherwise, but the ever diligent, always conjugating cogniscenti, in fact, mostly fail to disprove this rather quaint truism. Many are the discussions, petty are the distinctions, frequent are the reappraisals. A work of art must also be considered extremely personal and therefore, personalized to the artist himself. Even so, the seminal time-tested idea of creating the "compelling picture" or "language tour de force" regardless of subject matter, school of thought, or individual style is the driving energy behind all genuine artistic motivation, whether that motivation be theoretically contrived or deemed naîve by the tastemakers du jour.
As a conflicted idealist, I find myself continually drawn to the manifested contradictions of global society, and use figurative but erratic line, rough texture and virilent color to speak of that battleground where art and politics beat each other up while few are they who seem the wiser.
The articulation of a compelling "idea" or "emotion" is important but secondary since all art is subjective; in the general sense that the "picture" not prove interesting or compelling, then that idea or emotion is lost in a scenewash of indifference. Shifts in time and culture often betray the original significance of a work of art, and all that is left is a picture and the searing questions: is that picture compelling, or not? This is reality writ large. Conjecture and critical posturing, despite their obvious power, must of necessity, bow to the whims of the changing observer since compelling art usually outlives both its creator and its contemporary critics. By this definition art is a cult, and makes up its own rules.
Each painting I complete is nothing but the conflicted wonderment of an angst-driven subconscious on the prowl for a brutal honesty, urged to sniff out those personal heresies residing somewhere between a humble arrogance and an arrogant humility, energies harnassed to instruct the flow of imagination. Rarely do I start with a pre-conceived notion of what "I would like to imagine" but instead, I struggle against the common elements of mind and materials the status quo presents. I view history and contemporary culture as a freewheelin' exchange between truth and lie, honesty and cover-up. In an effort to expose the cliché as both prime soldier and stealth imposter of our times, my paintings are mere adverbs in a culture weary of language and camouflage. Thus, to remain true to my observations, the rough line of my hand and vibrant colors of my palette must both appall and appeal to a generation lost to worldliness yet unable to secure refuge in this accelerated age on the brink of [FILL IN BLANK].
We are living in a dangerous, rapidly accelerating, greedy, image-saturated sub-atomic culture. There is no time left to paint paintings, write poems, or sing hymns to false idols. All of modern civilization cries out for redeeming action, even as the weary soul sighs, and prays for rest. Humanity has simultaneously witnessed too much, and remarkably nothing, at all. This political contradiction describes the artistic inertia of our heavy times, and informs my own artistic vision I suppose, never quite figured out what that was supposed to mean on the sharp end of a rock worm's hook where most of it occurs....
In short, one impetus to my work is a study in observing the observers. Another might simply be stated in Miro's terms of attaining the maximum intensity with the minimum of means. And yes, across many fluid expectations, exploitations, and sea salted cracker jack explanations that flood my reckoning zone, that part of the brain that allows me to clarify and validate my own movements, however partial I think Picasso's remark that his paintings are a pictoral diary of his own life, describes my own inertia, especially in the more touching symbiotic work.
As I ponder with diligence what indeed is really important about or most vital to a person's life, I realize that we cannot reduce these calculations to easy formulas with any degree of amplitude. Especially those of the rogue artists under some harrowing spell of the cult of originality, most who thrive purport that their very purpose is to dig deeper into the soil of humanity than the average gravedigger. But therein lies the prize—being true to oneself with the same mneumonic precision one gives to or consciously withholds from any of the many ordinary cares such as the accumulation and retooling of money, contracts, legal qualms, career paths, family pitch, bitter nutrition, the sexual conquest, and finally, the nuances of language, only more so—one must prepare and repair to the quiet space where "will" succumbs to pace, where pace succumbs to habit, and habit becomes the meadowland. Peace, or strength of character can then naturally default, if only for that task, as we slowly bring into focus, scattered along the frontier horizons of the meadowland, the colorful array of junkyards left after the struggle, and so we return to the mills to mine the histories we once so frostily denied a place in the realm of records. Nothing else of consequence comes close to the mark of near certainty. The whole refuses to reject the flaw. The unimpressive fails to deny the perfected note of joy. Win, lose, draw succumbs to rock, paper, scissors.
To emphasize my position on the sort of loosely cloaked bias and petty irreverence this no hold barred approach tends to manufactures in our season of decline, I exclaimed to someone recently in some context or another, "Don't expect me to shut you up, but one must wonder if art is not the last refuge of scoundrels, after all."