Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hi Rebecca

Vector 2, 14 X 17, 1979, inquire here for print.

Ywh 3, 14 X 17, 1980, inquire here for print.

Horizontal 3, 18 X 24, 1977, inquire here for print.

Horizontal 1, 36 X 49, 1977, inquire here for print.
Horizontal 2, 29 X 37, 1977, inquire here for print.

Meditation 1, 25 X 18, 2006, inquire here for print.

Vector 5, 17 X 14, 1979, inquire here for print.

Horizontal 26, 17 X 14,  1979, inquire here for print.

The concept of doing art "for the right reasons" came to me as a student in l970 during a discussion on what is real or fake art, kitsch or masterpiece. 

I was the straight-laced kid out of an engineering high school, discussing the more intense issues of the art world with Tom Hyatt, whom I utterly revered.  He was US Army guy fresh back from Viet Nam, and was an odd mixture of cynicism, worldly experience and self-confidence.  We were new art students.  I can still hear his voice forming that phrase.  For the next five [student] years, it became the yardstick by which I measured the phenomenological validity of my art making.  Was it the real thing or just an imitation of someone else’s real thing? 

The resulting search came down to one event.  The right reasons—motivations—were more from the soul—the deep interior—not from my self-serving ego in its never ending search for rewards and other forms of stroking.  So I designed this project that would force me to engage in the process of creating, only knowing that the product itself—my ego-serving product at the end of all the effort—would be then destroyed.  All that would be left was the memory of creation itself.

What a revelation.  It was a canvas. It involved oils, PVA, gum arabic, spackling powder, pigment powder, acrylics, graphite, afro combs, cutouts, drawn and painted imagery, and a miniature anvil that swung in front of the piece.  It was incredible.  I even violated my own rule and snapped a slide of it.  Then I destroyed it, lovingly, non-violently. 

I see this event as pivotal.  After it I was no longer a student. 

The above meditation devices are examples of what became of my work after this event.  I think of them as recordings of what was happening to at least one meditator, seeking home in a soul—a sort of ancient patinad evidence or byproduct of an essential process that is both urgent in a universal sense, and personally intimate. 

I have revisited the pure horizontal and it’s variations directly many times over the years, and will have more to say about them in future essays.  As for motivation, you paint because you have to—everything else is just fake.

The above unveiling was inspired by Rebecca Crowell's website and blog that I found completely by accident.   



Rebecca Crowell said...

Great post title....of course, I am checking this out! Beautiful. I look forward to seeing new work in this vein.

William Cook said...

Hi Rebecca--Thanks for even noticing my work and for your kind comments. I am honored. Couldn't think of a better title. Wm