With expository text accompanying five full color reproductions, the series ERASING is highlighted in the fourth edition of Deborah Rockman's Drawing Essentials appendix that includes more than one hundred illustrations from twenty-two contemporary artists. View details about the book on-line.
INTERNATIONAL DRAWING ANNUAL 14th EXHIBITION-IN-PRINT Late 2020
TRICYCLE [detail] • 2018 • Charcoal, Colored-pencil, Pastel, Coffee on Paper
Manifest received 1187 submissions from 354 artists from all across the U.S. and the world. The publication will include 110 works by 66 artists. View exhibition-in-print on line.
The Anxiety of Style
I just found some photographs of paintings I created in college. It reminded me of how artists come to develop a style. Students use negation and hybridization as a method to come to grips with the anxiety of creating something new and personal. Negation is the easiest way to create a semblance of uniqueness. Take the current practice and do everything opposite. I am reminded of Mannerist artists during the 16th century, who in the face of the great masters of the Renaissance, produced work that turned the rational approach of their mentors upside down (perspective, local color, rational composition, etc.). For me, it was playing with color field painting and gesture painting.
￼ Field Painting, oil & shoes on canvas, 6' x 6', 1974
Another way that the anxiety of style is handled in student work is through synthesis and hybridization. In the painting on the right, I combined the rough edged matte-knife strokes of Clifford Still with the lyrical abstract paintings of Philip Guston. The anxiety is apparent in the scratchy, nervous and agitated painting surface created by using my fingers to apply the paint and made all the more so by deliberately and self-consciously dumbing down the subject matter into child-like diagrammatic imagery.
￼ First Meeting, oil on canvas, 6' x 9', 1976
Whether the work was successful, it does contain my subsequent interest in humor and narrative (see my early work here). But style can't be forced even by the most competitive art student. And with what style mature artists end up can't be justified or avoided. To paraphrase the rhetorical and wonderfully post-modernist riddle posed by that old Blackglama ad campaign: What becomes a style most? Insert your work here.