Sunday, July 10, 2011

Experientialism: What, I Like Cement.

Deconstruction Composition,  17X22", mixed media with peanut butter taffy paper . 
Saw a snapshot of a demolished rowhouse.  This is a lot like what was left.  Prismacolor gone into with turps makes a great water color effect that is compatible with oils, but can be varnished over with acrylic.  Just something to tuck away.  Other than that, I'm really liking smearing cement around.  I'm realizing that it's the experience of being in a creative trance that's driving all this--not necessarily the work.  But what distinguishes an excellent work of art from a mudpie?  Who you were while you were making it.

\\///\

32 comments:

L.W.Roth, said...

This is very nice. I like the geometry, the colors, the texture--great texture with cement. Nice selection of a piece of the reference photo. Interlocking pieces of a puzzle. The composition wouldn't stand up if one piece was subtracted. This is really a keeper Bill.

William Cook said...

Thank you Linda, I've been hesitant to show this--it's a bit different. Glad you like it.

The Artist Within Us said...

Greetings dear friend William,

I had hoped to say something profound in regards to your words and the artwork that accompanies it, but alas I have drawn a blank and to just say 'I like it does not due justice or provides you with a proper barometric reading as to the work itself or your words. So please forgive me. At least know that at least I will be still thinking about once I have posted this comment.

Warmest regards,
Egmont

Sharmon Davidson said...

I like this piece, Bill; I'm especially enamored of the upper right corner section. The cement goes well with the subject matter, too. What substrate are you using?

William Cook said...

Hi Egmont--Yes. I know. I'm just so thankful you commented. Now that I'm thinking about it, I had trouble writing a blurb on this one myself. Maybe this paragraph is all just nonsense. I do like the idea of experientialism, however.

Hi again Sharmon--Thanks. That corner was going to be a stresser, but I didn't let it. I've had that taffy paper in the studio since Halloween. Finally got into a painting. Had to knock it back with a layer of tissue though, damned thing was taking over the world. I will be trying some more of these--I'd like them to get a little sloppier. Most of these pieces are on untempered hardboard. Masonite, I think.

Robin Samiljan said...

I love the placement of color in this, it's subtle and bold at the same time. Are these cement paintings heavy? do they hang on a wall?

Casey Klahn said...

This one has me thinking. I am impressed with the way you push envelopes - that is a great thing.

William Cook said...

Hi Robin--No they're not heavy at all. The "cement" only looks heavy. The layers are actually right thin too. I suppose it's all a throwback to the old days when I painted in fairly thick impasto. I used to think if only there was some way to use these luscious textures for a little less expense. The techniques use sanded Thinset cements and grouts. Thanks for the curiosity, apologize for the long winded answer.

Hi Casey--Another thought provoking observation. Just following the old muse, and having some crazy wicked fun while I'm at it. All the best!

AutumnLeaves said...

Such a strong industrial sense to this piece; I can see it in a contractor's office, or a highway worker office...Beautiful job and I love the colors and knowing how you achieved them!

Susan Roux said...

Very interesting concept!

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

I've gotta ask: what is "peanut butter taffy paper"?! I admit that my early years of living in LA have given me an aversion to cement, but you've saved the day with your texture-rich creations.

L.W.Roth, said...

I thought I'd expound on my previous comment--prompted by The Artist Within Us. What I like about this piece is its architecture. The cement is very apropos to the subject. The color values you used define the space and the volume of the forms. We each have many sides to us; this geometric composition is just another side of Bill. the composition is also good turned upside down, and on either side--and I love when that happens--perfect balance. This painting I can get my teeth into. It's tactile.

L.W.Roth, said...

PS: you're were a cute kid.

Sonya Johnson said...

Another contemplative piece here. Unlike most of your others, it's not really a peaceful contemplation; the gritty, industrial edge makes one think of urban decay.

The small select areas of bright colors keep it from being bleak, though. Nice way to achieve balance. And the textures continue to fascinate me.

And thanks for that tip about the Prismacolors and turps...I have a bunch of pencils laying around that I don't use, and now I may have to experiment!

William Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William Cook said...

Thanks Sherry--Great observation--the industrial feel to this. I haven't got a clue how to get it into a contractor's office, however, but boy that would work well. Great comments.

Hi Susan--Thanks for checking in! The concept was so simple--use just enough structure to engage the eye. I found it so much easier than the more ethereal, nebulous approach of the other pieces in this group.

Hi Katherine--That's the wax paper they wrap taffy in [one of my downfalls is peanut butter taffy], comes in orange and black around Halloween time. I used to look forward to raiding the trick or treat haul for taffy, but now that the kids are gone I just pick up a few bags at Wallmart. Thanks for asking. As for the cement, think I should add some organic relief? Palm tree shadows, maybe. Too LA?
Sorry--just kidding. But having just been there I see what you mean with the cement.

Hi again Linda--Little easier on the eye isn't he? Don't answer that. As far as the painting goes, I have not tried that yet--turning it all around. Cool. I'm on it.
I've never done this sort of geometric shape thing before--keeps reminding me of Mondrian gone wrong. Still deciding if I like it or not. I must say that the little bit of structure took the stress out of it, and allowed me more freedom. The thing painted itself--I just enjoyed the show. Can art be that easy?

William Cook said...

Great observation Sonya. In my own heart I see that edginess. Maybe that's what has been disturbing me.

Sharmon, above, said she was especially drawn to the upper right corner (where the the colors are intense). Those more colorful areas are definitely becoming a sort of relief in an adventure that would otherwise be bleak. Great observation. I think I'm also seeing a kind of universal psychological significance to this in that, well, just who are we way down inside past all the fluff and flutter of everyday life?

I love these textures too, and have since I first worked with them in the seventies. To have been exploring them once again in the last couple months is long overdo.

As usual, thanks for checking in and for these thoughtful comments.

hw (hallie) farber said...

I agree with everyone; this is a wonderful piece. Prismacolor and turpentine--I'll be trying that.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

it's fabulous. Well composed with great texture. Makes you want to look at it often.
Thanks for the comment on my 'bug' Bill. Amazing to find out how many of us drove those cars. I think it's an artist thing ;)

SamArtDog said...

The word verification demands a comment: MANART. As in... man, that's art!
I do believe that this is not the first time you've put your prints in cement. Not only is it one of your own preferred mediums, it's also frequently referenced in your photographs. For instance, didn't you previously post that tasty photo of a desiccated burger pressed on the pavement in front of Wendy's? A truly stellar shot.
Adele sings, "should I give up, or should I just keep chasing pavements, even if it leads nowhere?". Keep on chasing on, Bill.

Celeste Bergin said...

I like cement too....this is a wonderful painting!

William Cook said...

Hi Halie--Always a pleasure to hear from you. This piece is really getting a lot of attention for some reason. It was almost an accident--it happened so quick, sort of just fell into place. Thanks.

Hi Mary--Interesting comment, thanks. As for the bug, that's all I ever dreamed of as a young teenager--driving a one. I wonder what the 'bug' of today is. Civic maybe?

Hi Sam--Some of those word verifications do get kind of funny. I am indeed the one with the used hamburger. that;s the most hilarious statement I seen in a while. The guy comes out of
Wendy's, takes a bite of the rubber burger, rips it out of the bun and throws it across the parking lot, using colorful expletives no doubt. And the fact that it was still there when I saw it meant that no animal would touch it. How could I not show that on the blog. Seriously, I'm so glad you brought up those sidewalk shots. They're in there all right whenever I whip up a batch of cement. All the best.

Thanks Celeste. You should try it. I wonder what Cement d'Celeste would look like. You could make it sing. Thanks for your kind comment, all the best.

PAMO ART said...

What do I like better? The last two lines of your post or your mixed media piece? Close call because they are both exceptional, but alas, the art will remain foremost in my conscious.
It is a gorgeous piece, still subtle and muted like your other abstracts, yet infused with a new energy-- most probably from the color, but the composition cannot be discounted.
No- nothing about you Bill, my dear, can ever be discounted.
Love your new icon photo!

William Cook said...

Thank you Pam, for the wonderful encouraging words. I do feel strongly about this sort of experientialist approach to artmaking, and I've made my share of mudpies. Each of these pieces is suggesting more things to try--more zaniness to attend to--more excuses to drop into the zone (so to speak). I don't know if I'm making paintings or if they're just what's left after the session. I just know that I was put here to be doing whatever this is. I haven't got a clue what to do with all these finished panels piling up. It's either I paint or get depressed. Interesting thing about the cub scout avatar--I just hit 60 but I haven't changed much at all. Love you Pam, and all the best to you and Jeff.

hw (hallie) farber said...

When I hit 60, I ordered one of the first of 5,000 Turbo-S Beetles shipped to the US. Red, six-speed, and could do 180; I loved it. Two months later it was ruined by baseball-sized hail--I gave it up after several years when a roof leak couldn't be fixed--end of my speeding; end of my Bug (not much room for hauling things but fun while it lasted).

William Cook said...

God I miss that bug. Great story! I got an XL pizza with 60 spelled out in pepperonis. OK I didn't. But I didn't get a car. Way to celebrate, young lady! Baseball sized hail? Was anything left of the whole neighborhood? This wasn't around here was it?

hw (hallie) farber said...

Southern Virginia--May 2, 2002. Every roof got replaced--and ours was a tin roof that was 112 years old. A friend had called and told me to move my new car--too late--I was stuck in the car listening to Joe Cocker CD. My Jeep was also damaged; husband in NJ w/his car. Coffee and doughnuts at State Farm the following day--they brought in appraisers from Texas--party time; everyone had a good story. I usually keep my cars for 20 years, but VW service is 70 miles away--lousy repairs. I miss it.

William Cook said...

Wow. Thank goodness you had the insurance at least. I feel a party coming on now. Now Joe Cocker's serious business. Is he even still around. Was just listening to him on Youtube recently. Wonder if he's busted any few blood vessels yet. Love the guy. Your cool meter just went up a few notches. 70 miles? By the time my VW's needed service they wouldn't make it 70 miles. 4 tops (with good shoe leather).

Jan Yates, SCA, Canada said...

Bill, after reading Altoon Sultan's blog (studio and garden)and just arriving here-serendipity--i think you, too, have an 'architectonic sensibility'

however, for me, beyond those beautiful overlaps and angles, beyond multiple divisions, beyond dynamic push/pull with colour, texture and geometric shapes,

there is a wee boy in the trance of play who shines through -you make me want to play with leggo and i say that as high praise to your artistic sensibility

' But what distinguishes an excellent work of art from a mudpie? Who you were while you were making it.'


*I also like your previous frame image-a LOT

Dan Kent said...

Well this is excellent - and I love your observation. I think you are right - viva la creative trance. I love the texture in your paintings. When I stand back from this one, I see the reflections on the roof. I love your placement of pure hues at the side.

William Cook said...

Thanks Dan--Thanks for stooping by and for that wonderful comment. There's a roof? Just kidding. All the best.

Andrew Finnie said...

So right you are, we have $50000 prize here in my home city where you not only have to present the work, but tell them who you are..... and no guesses to which they attach more importance!

ahh your sense of design and texture is so complete in this one, to take such disparate elements and harmonise them is a precious sskill