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Karl’s page

10:17 AM 1/11/2010 (date written)
Karl’s page (a feature page on my work at Karl’s web site)
Karl’s web site

Two forces are operating in my painting at this time. Both connect to my interest to establish a reductive process in my work; move away from my long history of AE structures, mostly with gesture intensive painting. So I keep on painting, these days, using structures that feel comfortable at the time of their use. Work executed in the past two years, for the most part, does incorporate reductive reasoning. If I take this reductive thinking too far toward its extreme end, my work tends to get lost. If it gets lost for me, then it has to get lost for anybody trying to connect with it. When I feel lost, I add back some modulations -gesture or color field, and I seem to get back on track. I dance around minimalism but never quite join it.

I have gone through two digital cameras since 2000. On my second camera the odometer just rollover over to its 2nd 10,000 images. As a photographer I view the world as a painter. My photographs are composed with a painter’s eye. I am also an impulsive photographer. If something out there interests me the moment I see it, I take a picture of it. This isn’t film! The only restrictions for me with regard to digital photography is the size of the hard drive. When it fills up, I get another one and keep shooting!

Four computer manipulated digital images are included in this set of images. For some reason I can’t leave an off camera image alone. I have to tinker with it. In some pieces I intentionally flattening the picture to relate more closely to the picture plane and picture edges. Some pictures require more computer manipulations than others to accomplish this task. Other images require little computer manipulation and I keep the structure close to what happened off camera. There are manipulations that are composites of several separate photographs. There are re-imaged composites that have been abstracted heavily but still retain some of the original digital image’s form. I manipulate these images in the same way I paint. Whatever the image requires of me I do the task.

I don’t evaluate any of my work according to any acceptable criteria; how it fits or doesn’t fit to arguments for or against modernism and postmodernism. I evaluate it to whether I like it or don’t like it. It = a specific work. I have no other way to look at the world. After all, it is my brain that interprets the world I live in. My art is created through this filter.

I wrote this statement before I selected the images. Eh? What I said above illustrates that painters should paint and not talk (or write)! And what I write also points up facts to how illusive a topic an artist’s statement really is. For me, I change my mind every minute of the day. And love every minute of it. And…. tomorrow I select different images to show and think of other things to say about it. How schizophrenic!
Ain’t life grand?

Here are 8 paintings and 4 fotos. Enjoy!

Also please visit Karl Maenz’s web site. He is a fine painter and photographer, and to say the least a fine friend.

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What do you do?

3:14 AM 10/17/2008; adds 11:13 AM 1/11/2010 (dates of original writing and its update)

Q What do you do?
A I make marks on different supports; paper, canvas, linen, wood, cardboard, ????

[10:05 AM 10/17/2008]
Q What does this mean? Do you call yourself an artist?
A Precise definitions that describe what I do are difficult to organize. As part of an answer to your first question, I use the materials and tools that all fine artists use to create paintings. I am primarily a painter in the fine art sense. Yes. I will call myself an artist. As you can see I have injected the term “fine art” and “artist” to mean a connection between these two as compared to a painter that connects the terms “house” and “commercial” together. I am not a house painter. However, one aspect of fine art painting today is this: Commercialism has crept in to this business big time since 1990. So separating a difference between “house” and “fine art” painters today can be a tricky thing to do. For me, today, much ado about painting has to do with money and not art.

Q Can you elaborate more on this?
A No. Next topic please!]

Q How do you make these marks?
A I use acrylic paints mostly. Apply these paints to these supports using a variety of tools; brushes, sponges, fingers, squeegees of different kinds (cardboard scrap, polyethylene sheets, window squeegee), mono printing from (polyethylene plates, wax paper plates, paper plates, metal plates, glass plates), pouring, etc. I use any way to manipulate the paint as i can and best suits my feelings or urges at the moment the act of painting starts. The technique for application, then, is much determined by the mark each tool makes as it spreads a coat of paint. This is the fun in mark making this way. It is truly an exercise in making marks.

Q What does your art mean?
A If it has meaning in any sense, this meaning must be brought to the engagement by the audience singly or in group. There is no intentional literature applied here. The energy source for making my marks is open and free from linguistic connections. There are no stories being told here. Energy, however one wishes to define energy, is transferred from within me through media (paint), the tool used to make the mark to the support. Beyond that action no hidden meanings are imported to the work.

Q If your art has no meaning, then why do you do or make it; the art; the painting; the marks?
A Why not? Making marks on different supports is as old as man. Making marks with various mark-making tools is an ancient almost indigenous act made by all humans from the age of two onward (I could be wrong on the age here — it has been a while since I last studied mark making by human beings and its history). Once the mark is made, its meaning can be interpreted by as many people who engage with it. A mark on a surface can be revisited many times and mean different things upon each new visit. Meaning in art is in the eye/mind of the beholder. For me, the more photographic a painting becomes, the more literature becomes an automatic connection to this painting. The further away from photography a painting becomes, the more abstract, the more this painting becomes a mirror-like event. In this sense a painting becomes a device for reflections and projections between the maker [made] and a viewer.

Q Several years ago you titled your web site “Marks from the mind”?
A Yes. I think this was back in 1998 or 1999. At that time I felt that I was a mark maker as an artist. I strongly related my motivations to make marks from withing a self defined set of Zen paradigms that had no hard rules really. What I thought my art to be could never be defined as I felt it. The marks were a never ending moving target. We can never step into the same river twice. When we try to define our lives, I think the difficulty in revealing who we are by us is because where we are and who we are is wrapped in this arena of the never ending target. This, of course is caused by time never stopping. Always continuing to from past to future with an extremely short stop, maybe, in the present. I am not sure the present exists. Getting back to your main point, today I am moving my self definitions as an artist to the position of being a mark maker.

Q Are you, then, an abstract expressionist artist?
A No! Yes! I don’t know! I can’t be an abstract expressionist painter in real time because this isn’t the ’40’s when this approach to painting was first introduced. If I am an abstract expressionist, then I am a 4th generation AbExEr. I forgot how many years defines a generation. Most first gen AbExErs were born around 1900 – 1910. I was born in 1941. So my guess is that I am a 3rd or 4th gen AbExEr in this sense. There have been moments in my career that I really liked abstract expressionism. Then there have been moments that abstract expressionism has left the building and disconnected from my mark making. I do, however, use a filtered version of Surrealist Automatism as a main energy source to motivate my working process. This process was used by some of the 1st gen AbExErs. Most recent self analysis of what I think i do takes me back to just a simple mark maker. AbEx, to me, today, is simply another tool to use to help in my mark making.

Q Can you say more about this process?
A No! Well, Yes! Simply put: I like to paint. I like to make marks using different colors of paint and make line and shapes. Most of the time I let the design take care of itself as it unfolds in front of me. The painting, in this sense, exists as a recording of this performance. And, like a finger print, the marks take on my personality. I think all art does this.

Q Thank you for your time.
A Your welcome.

is painting dead?

2:32 PM 12/30/2009

http://www.artfagcity.com/2009/12/21/gerhard-richter-and-the-aura-of-reproduction/
commentary on paintings of Gerhard Richter related to the topic: “Is Painting Dead?”

Speaking to the question of whether or not painting is dead or dying consider this:
Isaac Bashevis Singer, the only author to win a Nobel Prize in literature for stories written in Yiddish, was often asked why he wrote in a dying language. His reply: “Yiddish has been dying for a thousand years, and I’m sure it will go on dying for another thousand.”
Saul // 21 Dec 2009, 6:48 pm

What do you think?

fling paint

1:01 AM 11/19/2009 (date written)

fling paint

normally i don’t like to explain how my art is made or discuss what it is or means. However, sometimes i feel a strong urge to write down an idea on what i think my art is at a given moment. this is one of those moments 2:05 AM 11/19/2009. tomorrow when i wake up what i write here will feel more like BS than anything else. I have just watched several YouTube videos on artists working in their studios. These were pollock, Appel, several others. they are the paint flingers for want of a better description. For the most part they all worked very quickly; establishing a completion of the artist/painting connection in a short period of time.

The paint flingers-

we all can fling paint. It should look anonymous. It doesn’t. No matter how hard we try, we cannot takeout the personality of the maker of the fling. This is true because the flinger has to make choices during the flinging process. These choices relate to the flingers zen.

…….from an automatist position, the fling still is filtered through the artists complex unique nervous piping and mind connections to this piping.

…….rhythm and speed is important to fling painting. also an element attached directly to the artists complex unique nervous piping and mind connections to this piping.

…….for me time plays a big role. It determines the depth of my connection to my unique nervous piping and mind connections to this piping. Time and its relationship to how long the connection lasts during a construction session. Slow connections at times will distract me to a point where the connection/s get lost. The construction session then is lost. Not wasted. Just lost. Maybe some form of reconstruction will take place the next construction period.

paint a show

1:38 AM 12/15/2009 (date written)

paint a show

just had a thought about how i paint on a daily basis; from day to day; with no prospect/s for showing anything anywhere in the near or far future. Partial Ans: I paint ideas rather than sets of themes. by this I mean, I work on ideas as they form and I have the interest to set this idea/form in some way as a permanent marker for the idea; make a painting, or a photograph, or a sculpture, or a ?????. As the days go by and one idea after another pop up or are drafted, i make decisions as to which idea gets recorded and with ideas are left behind to be or not to be for something in the future.

When a prospect comes up for showing my work at a gallery or museum, i will then paint; work up a show covering several ideas either related directly as a set or related indirectly as derived from related ideas. Confusing. Yes. No. This way I don’t windup with a store room full of physical stuff that no body wants, including me. When I am contracted with a gallery as an ongoing adventure, I will usually paint a number of related pieces for showing at this specific gallery. For me this can become a pain in the ass because it interferes with my real interest in just working up ideas that are every changing and thus exciting to me. This motivates me to paint, photograph,sculpt, print, etc. The gallery contract thing becomes just another job, in a way, where i spend hours repeating myself. in the end the work begins to suffer because it is boring to me, boring to make, and comes out communicating that it is boring to look at by others too.

What do I do? Nothing. Keep on trucking and do what I have to do to get up tomorrow and make something productive and exciting to me in the studio. I really don’t care if it is exciting to anybody else. Arrogant? Yes? Necessary for me in order to make the art on a continuing basis.

I am not represented by a gallery at this time. I like this because It makes me free. And being free is most important to me as an artist. For a gallery-artist-David connection to work well, the gallery needs to take what i do. Take what i do –promote and sell it. Leave me to my ways to make art. I then will leave you (the gallery) to do your thing. If we both do our thing very well we both prosper. Any break in the link and the adventure fails. This has been my gallery history. Most gallery-David-connects wind up as failures. This is so. This is life. Can we move on?

1:55 AM 12/15/2009
somewhere in what i wrote above is a kernel of truth. i will need to analyze the above to see if i can locate this kernel. what will id do when i find it? nothing! move on to tomorrow and ask some more questions through paint, wax, plaster, pencil, computer, prints, listening.

my art is:

11:01 PM 10/13/2009 (date written)

my art is:

experimental
exploratory
expansion
thinking
ideas
conservative
“robust”
misunderstood
dismissed
non commercial
personal
public
is
was
large
small
medium
painting
drawing
sculpture
digital
haiku
love

12:04 PM 8/30/2009 (date written)

I haven’t posted to my blog for quite some time. What follows is a discussion that unfolded in my mind about post modern painting as we approach 2010. For me this will be, why I don’t know, an interesting year. The following words are generalizations formulated to expose a concept and feeling, and not get into arguments of detail.

As I wrote this, I simultaneously viewed work by artists at the Gallery Nelson – Freeman/Paris, France; see footnote at end of this.
=====================================================

Seems to me, much of current imagery in post modern painting requires literature in some form to make a connection to it; what the painting is about requires an explanation. Images are more, rather than less, esoteric and quite personal (internal to the artist) rather than universal as post moderns seem to desire. Yes! Imagery links to print and computer advertising; film; cartoons (print, film, digital (still and video); fashion (you name the connection). Some current post modern post post modern (whatever its name) is presented as fragments of something else; unclear references; to me final point gets lost. There seems to be some disconnect between what the artist understands and what he/she presents as a final product (art?). In this sense, an audience feels duped and embarrassed if he/she doesn’t get it. Its a Barnum special at most galleries these days!!!

Maybe a slice of daily life, real or imagined, is one and the same thing? Daily life = kaleidoscope? Yes? Daily life = banal? yes? When an artist presents banality as art, it is boring because daily life is boring. If our minds recorded up front and kept daily life experiences in a conscious center, we would not be able to function due to the confusion of massive input to our brains. To survive we must be selective of our focus every second. Some experience is rejected. Some accepted. As we focus during the day, we survive and get by.

Everyday objects, stuff (like shipping palettes —
http://www.galerienelsonfreeman.com/slide_show.php?ar=48&c=5&in_show=1) are physically taken out of context and placed into a gallery and called art = art according to Duchamp and millions of artists practicing today. There must be some element of truth to this as audience acceptance of this also legitimizes it. NO? Yes?

Critical evaluation of this art stuff as far as I can tell, now exists as an individual and personal “I like it” or “I don’t like it”. The criticism then forms along these lines wherein the critic plugs in samples to prop up the focus of the crit. There is no gray area, to me. This is a very conservative position; my way or the highway. Once the need to explain what the stuff being exhibited is and is about, the art part of the experience is over!

I reluctantly accept this. I have no answers or diagrams to offer as replacement. These are postmodern times! For me, like everyone else, I bring my own baggage to the art gallery. I bring along my learning in art history and art making. I bring along my prejudices born out of this learning. I bring to this experience my ignorance of art history and art making with special focus (sometimes) of the artist’s intentions presented by the art stuff exhibited. Hard to elaborate without using specific examples. There are way too many examples, from my view, to bring to this minimal conversation that would clarify. Most likely the conversation and comparisons would get lost in the smoke. Ah hah! I too get stuck. The absence of singular movements today make for rather confusing criticism, evaluation, and judgment. Pluralism reduces criticism to “I like it” or “I don’t like it”.

[ There needs to be a revision of art criticism. It needs to re-establish formal criteria so that ]

[Everything today has its monetary equivalent; art, life, bullets, war… Where’s the beef?]

As I look at painting 2009 by new, refreshing, young artists, I see a big influence of realism on what is being done; the figure, landscape, portraits, etc. Photography seems to be a big influence as well; especially digital photography along lines of digital collage and other forms of electronic image manipulation. [Maybe it is time for] This interest in using realism in some form in painting signals to me that artists feel a need to get back into the world of seeing and to make a record of this seeing regardless of how used; realism to nonobjective abstractions. Any time an artist uses his/her eyes and creates a translation of this seeing to an art work, again regardless of style position, there is a power transfer to the art. This is a very zen thing! This power transfer is intuitively felt by another being if it is truly there! We feel the energy even if we can’t explain what the feel may be. Nice!

Much of the new painting for me involves searching, discovery, recording. Searching, discovery, recording makes for art that can, when successful, picked up by audience radar. It may not always be clear but it certainly can be felt. We all possess a common trait; curiosity. When painting pics at this curiosity, an enriched experience unfolds.

Success you say. Success is evaluated by measuring how well the artist connects and projects the content. Oh! I have digressed! Success is measured by the duality of “I like” or “I don’t Like”. There are no standards for measurement of post modern art. It is whatever you want it to be. [Duchamp??>>!!] So! Today there is no criticism other than that expressed through personal pleasure principles. 100 different people. 100 different pleasure principles. 100 different points of reference for art criticism. Are we back to modernism here? Modernism by broad definition [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernism] “…was, and remains, its rejection of tradition. Modernism’s stress on freedom of expression, experimentation, radicalism, and positivism disregards conventional expectations. In many art forms this often meant startling and alienating audiences with bizarre and unpredictable effects: the strange and disturbing combinations of motifs in Surrealism, or the use of extreme dissonance and atonality in modernist music. In literature this often involved the rejection of intelligible plots or characterization in novels, or the creation of poetry that defied clear interpretation.; self centered expression of self existence in this vast reality we play in.”. I am generalizing here, but I think you get my point. Art is still all about the individual in its making and experiencing. As a fact: We have no other point of reference to our reality other than from ourselves. We cannot under any circumstances see or feel the world from within someone else. The work seen and felt is done some from our own brain computer translations of the data inputs. Something to be said that modernism’s definitions are truisms. So post modern, post post modernism, modernism, is pretty much the same thing. The focus changes; the content changes; the images change; but the center of this activity is still us. We change too. Ain’t life grand?

http://www.galerienelsonfreeman.com/
While writing this I was looking at work of the artists represented at this gallery in Paris, France. For me European artists and galleries present a better balance of what is being done. European galleries seem to be still interested in art; like the old days of the 50s, 60s, 70s ending in the 80s in the USA. The USA gallery scene turned away from art as the 90s unfolded. IN the USA we lost our way in almost everything human; art, religion, politics (now in the 00s politics is a collection and expression of hate) and everything moved to focus on money as the pinnacle of life. Life = money = insanity. We (people) now kill each other for the hell of it. As populations explode around the world it is becoming more and more a reality for me, “No, We Can’t get along”..!!??

The line of succession that is the make up of this piece of writing.
1. http://www.crggallery.com/artists/
2. http://www.crggallery.com/artists/pia-fries/
3. http://www.galerienelsonfreeman.com/; the other galleries listed for this artist are also interesting.

======================================================
myself. how postmodern can i really get? postmodernism isn’t in my blood. i like what i see in some postmodern art. however, my roots are planted in modernism. after all, i am now approaching my 70th year and still haven’t been able to find my way in modernism. my road is still to be taken.

thanks for attention. much appreciated.

dpn
12:58 PM 8/30/2009

Just began looking at artists at http://www.gfilomenasoares.com//pt/artists. I am getting most interested in work being shone in Europe!

Here go! Round and round and round! “I like” and “I don’t like” at work!