Tuesday, January 22, 2008
My painting cont'd XII The TITLE
If I already had a basic title for my painting I could qualify it with the words 'a fragment' as in 'X: a fragment'. One of the few things that can be said with any certainty is that the work squarely declares its incompleteness by implying at all edges (so far) its continuation.
Were I now, suddenly, to decide to increase its size and add panels all round I can only imagine I would continue in the same way and end up with edges which would again imply their extension into yet further panels. Thus my painting is a fragment of a larger conjectural fragment which in turn must be a section of a yet larger etc. etc.
In all directions my studio limits the size of the piece. Also, in the dimension of time, the finitude of my life is, unlike the universe (whatever that may turn out to be), contracting rather than expanding.
There is another dimension also which a picture inhabits (one not often invoked by mathematicians) and whose questions it has to answer; this is the moral dimension. The testing factor here is whether the marks that meet the edge are genuinely capable of coherent extension in a world whose rhythm, colour, formal vocabulary etc. they have already played a part in.
These speculations seem by their very uncertainty to give the picture the character of a living thing. Perhaps it has indeed proved its organic nature by rejecting the panel with which it started (see blog 7 Aug '07).
A Humument. A particularly virulent strain is here seen to infect that most tired and cynical of contemporary British art's profitable tropes, the repeated spot. This is not their first appearance in the book (see blog 17 Jan '07). The case is well advanced in this page where as crypto ornamentalism attacks the motif's blandness an appropriate commentary emerges from the text to echo Brecht's song of Mahagonny "Oh show us the way to the next whisky bar..."