Friday, February 08, 2008
My painting cont'd XIV
It is Dante time in the enterprise, nel mezzo del cammin… just half way through the journey… on what is getting to be a bumpy road judging from the bulge of chaos in the centre, plus the many elements still unresolved; and a beginning panel yet to be fully reworked.
Nevertheless it seems a natural break in the story, like the interval in a two act opera when the plot is known and the aesthetic established even if the outcome is only to be guessed at. Whatever the case Vincero! Vinc-e-ero! seems a long way off.
It would be a strange opera however that, by the time the audience sought bars and lavatories or the ever shrinking smoker’s ghetto, had not announced its title. I am still somehow left with Untitled: A Fragment which is neither resonant, inviting nor informative, and which begs the question, “What’s it all about then, guv?” This question properly dogs my working day where every certainty has its corresponding doubt and in which the only absolute certainty is doubt itself. On the other hand it is axiomatic of abstract art that it strives to be non-referential and thus it is an appropriate and primary aim of this picture that it should be an autonomous act of painting.
However the difficulty of finding a title is caused more by a multiplicity rather than a paucity of allusion; though allusion is not quite the right word. Dante says that his Comedy (it was not he that called it Divine) in terms of its meaning is polysemous, a many layered thing. My picture avoids his particularity of meaning and its visual dialectic might better be described as polyanalogical. Passing through it there are ghosts of many kinds of enquiry and activity from cosmology to tattooing. These include, among others, mapmaking, dance, territorial board games, quantum physics, ping pong, calligraphy, topology, semiotics, form and growth in nature and the mark-making of early man. Of some I have little understanding (quantum physics) or am a lowly practitioner (ping pong) but there is one more familiar parallel world whose totality, as well as its parts (pitch, key, tonal spectrum, rhythms, form and dynamic), proves a constant model for much of what I do, and that is music.
Yet the upper stratum of my thought when working, or just staring dumbly wondering how to go on, is purely pictorial. The picture, by alluding to no thing specifically, remains for me a permeable structure which associations can enter freely, visit and leave, or stay and inhabit.
My goal is that those who see it will find it equally porous, and, remembering the girl heroine of Eleanora H. Porter’s popular novel, Pollyanna, will relish the ‘glad game’ I hope to make (which makes me think that polyanalogical was not such a bad word).