Sunday, June 12, 2016

Guston, and Getting Out of Your Own Way

Figuring out how to get to NY to see the Guston show. Years ago, I had a revelation when I read about the excruciatingly protracted process leading up to the dramatic change in Philip Guston's work. He spoke of fighting the imagery that wanted to come through in his work for over a decade before he "let it win." It struck me that the methods I had already been using in teaching students how to find their visual voice could be honed to facilitate a similar receptiveness, perhaps even expedite the process, of discovering the work wants to be made through YOU. This deeply insightful Jerry Saltz review of "Philip Guston; Painter 1957–1967," articulates so well the focus of the workshop, soon to become a book:

"The lesson of his career is that in order to really be themselves all artists must find their inner Guston: an artist who foregoes easy answers, looks for and channels doubt and not knowing. An artist like this understands that he or she isn’t controlling their art — not really; that on some cosmic level art controls the artist. All great artists must be able to create a machine that can make things that they cannot predict. Even when they make what might be nightmarish or ugly to them."

Which is why "Philip Guston; Painter 1957–1967," at Hauser & Wirth, a showcase of Guston at the turning point of his career, is an incantatory lesson for all artists. Perfectly curated by the gallery’s Paul Schimmel, the exhibition sounds a secret chord for artists in search of one of art’s many strange grails: how to make art that is original and entirely one’s own. This is especially pressing now that there are promising signs of artists everywhere trying to break through the fog of professionalism and careerism that have crept into the art world; the corporate carefulness that’s made too many painters make little moves in known directions; toe pre-approved formal lines; and make the system feel clogged up, static, sterile. Guston, who was desperate to change, knew this. He said “I got sick and tired of all that purity… the extreme codification of beliefs and the institutionalism of everything.”

Monday, January 27, 2014

Workshop Updates

Gave Broward College students a condensed Visual Voice Workshop last weekend, and we had a great turnout! I want to thank Lisa Rockford for bringing me to Fort Lauderdale.

I will be scheduling a full two-day version of Dig Deep: A Visual Voice Workshop at The Art Armory in West Palm Beach in 2015, and we are trying to work in a Publicity Hat Workshop even sooner than that.... stay tuned!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I will be a visiting artist at Broward College in Ft. Lauderdale in late January. I will be giving an artist's talk on Thursday, January 23rd at 6:30 p.m. in The North Regional Library Auditorium, and a FREE abbreviated Visual Voice workshop on Friday, January 24 at 2 p.m. in the Fine Arts Ceramics Studio (50/125) ​

Information is here.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Real Work
by Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I saw Julie Heffernan's new work in Mark Moore's booth in Miami 6 months ago. I was immediately enraptured, and stood in front of it for a long time, thinking, "I know this painter, but....", and then realized it was hers. This interview reveals that she uses image streaming as part of her creative process. I have always loved her work, but this new direction is so rich and layered, chock full of art historical references, but socially conscious without being heavy handed & relevant to our time.
"Self Portrait As The Thief Who Was Saved", oil on canvas, Julie Heffernan
(Ernst Haas photo)

"There are no rules. That's how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about."  - Helen Frankenthaler

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Feedback from My First Visual Voice Workshop

It was challenging, threatening, inspiring, stimulating - all good things!  Inspired me to break my established creative routine. Gulp!   - Mary T.

Many times along the way - during the day - there were "lightbulb" moments for myself. The exercise was very helpful, and will be useful going forward. Your knowledge / willingness to share is much appreciated. I feel well-fed (artistically), and motivated to continue on the path! Thank you!   - Marlene B.

Workbook questions were illuminating, saw patterns I did not know were there. Discussions about how artists think made me understand some of my own behaviors.  - Cynthia S.

I came to this workshop because, despite earning a BFA in painting, I feel like I've never really been taught how to explore, research & develop an idea. I feel like there was an assumption in my program that ideas just happened, and if you had weak ideas, you were a lost cause. I feel like I have been given a lot of rich ideas to sit with, develop, & mine, as well as information to use to refine ideas & work.  - Lauren S.

Very well structured, very informative... many things resonated with my views & experience.
- Desha J

It was great to dig... So much to think about & directions to go that it will keep me going for some time.   - Fannie W

I've been circling around an artistic problem, but have not been able/willing to jump into it. Looking forward to reading your book, and approaching my problem from these perspectives. Also ... hoping to explore this throughout the summer, so I can examine ways to use this in my classroom. Thanks... It was great! Publish your book! Artists/teachers need it!  - Wendy M.

I love it! Thank you for giving us so much information.  - Rhonda P.

I loved  having the creative process & suggestions for it broken down. I liked the exercises & that feedback was offered... that it was objective & not competitive. I liked the expanded look at work by contemporary artists.  - Roxanne

Overall this was an enjoyable & very informative/educative workshop. I especially enjoyed the sketching exercise: it was very attuned with the "dig deep" subject of the workshop. The slides were very informative.   - Poorvi