Driving Down a Road to Nowhere; Driving Down a Road to Somewhere

Driving Down a Road to Nowhere; Driving Down a Road to Somewhere

For an abstract painter, where nearly everything in life is abstract, painting is very much like driving down a road to nowhere. At the same time it is very much like driving down a road to somewhere. The distance between the two is thinly veiled. A slice in time and space. With no GPS to guide this way or that. There is no up and down, no left and right. Only space unfolding. Intuition plays a great part in all of this. But, if you listen too hard or too often, intuition will turn on you as well. It cannot do the work. It is not up to this enormous task. The painter must find the path. The painter must struggle through the reeds, the muck, the mire, the bramble. Torn and bloodied the painter crawls up from the slippery slope back onto the road. Sometimes you see something in the distance, but it is nothing. Other times you see nothing but your own hand, your own doubt and the painting appears before you. This is the magic of painting: it chooses you as much as you choose it. The road comes to a turn. One gets out and walks under a full moon. The Road Not Taken By Robert Frost Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear;...
Art Historical Resonance and Komarin Exhibition in The Hamptons

Art Historical Resonance and Komarin Exhibition in The Hamptons

As an abstract painter painting in 2015, it is a very curiously emotional experience to show my new paintings in Bridgehampton, New York. Many do not realize that some of the greatest American Painters of the past century settled in The Hamptons in the late 40’s and 50’s, having moved out of the barren, cold, and gritty loft spaces of lower New York. Two of the most famous of these individuals were Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. While Willem de Kooning had emigrated from Holland to New York, and Jackson Pollock from Wyoming to New York, both had lived and worked in the lower reaches of Manhattan. Life for an abstract painter in the 30’s and 40’s was a very tough experience indeed. Painters tended to live in cold water flats – toilets and sinks down the hall – and very little money coming up the pipeline. The mindset and expectation of making money was very, very low. There was no place to go, so why not pour everything into the ‘work.’ Painters at this time were drawn to painting like moths to a flame. It was not the career that well-positioned parents and teachers encouraged their talented children to pursue. Picasso was the God that was worshipped from across the big and tumbling ocean…and both Pollock and de Kooning struggled to keep alive, make the rent and still paint their hearts out during the daylight hours. Both were heavy drinkers and smokers, but this came very much with the territory. It wasn’t so much an attempt to be ‘romantic,’ the act of painting. Rather, these individuals were hard-core devoted artists and the drinking and smoking...

Inspiration for Artists and the Game of Chance

For most Artists – whether Painters, Poets, Screenwriters or Novelists – there is often an element of Chance in the development of the work. A roll of the dice can lead to inspiration. A Writer stumbles upon an intriguing road sign on a dusty lane, a Painter spills paint on a new canvas that falls in exactly the right way, a Poet – straining for the best word to complete a poem – looks out the cloudy window of a train in Paris and sees the name of a new coffee company that fits the bill exactly right. I remember reading years ago how the great and smooth lounge singer Bobby Darin got his name. Darin…is a very mellifluous name for a singer born into an Italian family with a very complicated trisyllabic last name. As I recall, He was en route to an audition somewhere on a rainy night in New York City, rolls down the window of his taxi…   …And sees a local Chinese restaurant whose proper name was MANDARIN DUCK!   But… apparently the first few letters of the neon sign had conked out. So all that Mr. Bobby saw was DARIN.   He immediately sees the ‘light’ and as this name spoke to him – unannounced and unpremeditated – he jumped on it, and forever after was Bobby Darin! The Dadaists The Dadaist Artists in the early part of the 20th century played with elements of chance, in Paris and other parts of Europe. They would drop bits of paper on to a flat plane and where they landed is where they stayed. Dadaist Artists liked to find random...
Painting on the Edge vs Edges of the Painting

Painting on the Edge vs Edges of the Painting

For a Painter — whether abstract or figurative or somewhere in between — the edges of the painting are a very important thing. The average viewer may not consider the edges of the painting, may never think at all in fact about the edges of the painting as they are primarily concerned with what is going on inside the painting. Before the 20th century most paintings in the West provided a picture window through which one looked into the painting to see the unfolding drama, whether figures acting out some sort of scene on the battlefield or an interior drama in a Venetian ballroom. The point is that one looked into the picture and did not consider the physicality of the canvas or the nature of the edges of the painting. A viewer of an 18th century Dutch landscape painting with cows grazing on rolling green hills and a hawk flying above a dark and cloudy sky would scarcely be aware of the edges of that painting. In contrast, if someone were to graze that viewer with the edges of a sharp knife they would very quickly be aware of the edges of that knife. The point being that when working on a rectangular canvas, which was the accepted structure and format in western painting for hundreds of years, the painter had to be concerned with the edges of the painting as paint was certainly applied to those four edges but also because the edges of the painting helped to define and focus on the drama occurring in the rest of the canvas. In other words, the subject of...