Binocular Vision

About a year ago I was working on two shaped canvases – actually PVC panels – and this is how they turned out: I got very impatient with what felt like just the same old

IMG_5259IMG_5261

Robert Linsley thing; pretty but lifeless. So I destroyed them by overpainting and made

IMG_6065
IMG_6060

two black and whites with wet in wet. I needed the wet in wet to break out of my habits of design, though was a bit depressed at the thought that they looked too conventionally “expressionist.” The one on a black ground in particular seemed weak. I hauled them out the other day and the first one, with black poured into a wet white ground and red poured into wet black, is really strong. A bit scary. The other one had to go, so began to overpaint and quickly realized I was back where I started. But then thought…well, I’m a professional artist, so my job is to let the shapes dance and the colors sing – why not just

IMG_6068go on until it’s right? So now I have a piece in which the wet in wet is tamed and brought into the design, that includes painting with a brush as well as pours, and it’s alright, 

IMG_6070

some small brushstrokes among the pours

but still waiting for a final evaluation. What more is any artist supposed to do but make it look as good as possible? Maybe a lot more, but you can’t let grand ambitions shut you down. Stick to the real and concrete. The shape of these pieces resembles a pair of binoculars; each side can have a relatively independent arrangement, even as the whole is felt – a great possibility that the early versions didn’t get to.

This entry was posted in Principles of Abstraction and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Binocular Vision

  1. Naomi Schlinke says:

    Robert–That shape exists as a force on it’s own. When it is horizontal, I see two circles (or spheres) that are attempting to separate as in mitosis. When it is vertical, it is more suggestive of the body and shield-like. I think the black painting is strong and it overcomes the separation between the support and the painting. When you were working with spheres, it was like a mother-ship that could passively accommodate the floating land masses. This shape, however, is a challenge to the primacy of the painting activity. Perhaps it requires a more aggressive treatment, similar to that of the black painting, in which the pigment devours the support.

    • thanks for the insight. You might be right. I thought of the arrangement of forms and colors as falling into two overlapping sets, so that works with the shape and apart from it at the same time, kind of like what I saw in Tiepolo a while ago. Think I took that post down though. The idea is not to let the shape of the support dominate but still work with it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *