Friday, March 13, 2009

My painting L: Epilogue

Beckett Again, 2009, oil on palettes, h28cms x w22cm(L) & 20cms(R)

I look at my painting and realise I have never seen it in unbiased light. Its western side (and only now I realise that what I have been calling West and East are, in terms of the wall that supports it, not merely cartographically but literally so aligned) receives from the window much more light than its eastern. The northernmost few inches happen to fall in the shadow of the window top. Electric light is differently biased with the South of the picture descending into gloom. I must get a proper look at it in the more general light of my other studio where I shall see it, and occasionally hit it (in alternate games at least), from the far end of the ping pong table.

It may serve also (in alternate games again) to distract my opponent, which will be useful in the return match against Dinos Chapman; after the decisive home win which marked our first encounter.

Meanwhile, looking to other tasks, I noticed last week two abandoned palettes in a corner, each in a different random mood and decided to make a diptych of them. What better text for them to share than another line from that sublime manufacturer of artists' mottoes, Samuel Beckett, to sum up the post magnum opus blues?

Friday, March 06, 2009

My painting XLIX


The end of the affair. Finishing a major work, large by my standards and, by anybody's, long drawn out is an experience I can never get used to. Some kind of emptiness displaces the anticipated sense of fulfilment. Perhaps that is why I embrace serial projects that have no end, like 20 Sites n Years which will pass on to another to continue, or A Humument, a book that only death will shut. These are works I cheat of the dissatisfaction that their completion might bring.

With Quantum Poetics I set out to make a masterpiece and in the proper meaning of the work it is exactly that, albeit a flawed one. Back to Beckett and his indelible formula, Try again. Fail better, so apposite to the state of the artist. So this is a hill climbed, steeper perhaps than the one before yet whose top when reached merely reveals a higher hill beyond.

The painter doth protest too much? Maybe so; trying to be frank about the larger sensation I forget the small rewards that even now surprise me when I take down a panel to photograph and notice in some part of it a passage well imagined, finely wrought. The main frustration is having no idea what an object so familiar to me looks like through another's eyes. Once or twice I have caught sight of it in the mirror at the far end of the studio and see that it does have energy, microscopic and macroscopic, and the syncopated rhythm of a dance of signs. And it is a presence, w.a.f.

Most reassuring of all, on an adjacent wall, the panel that originally was its north by north west corner (and having started the picture's motion, was eventually replaced) now sits in the middle of a group of nine panels, hoping to seed a sequel. But that's another story.