Monday, July 11, 2011


I’ve spent the past few weeks: reminiscing with house guests from far-flung states; recovering from an annoying case of strep that interrupted my nightly pipe ritual; and exploring the self-imposed philosophical basis of my paintings. I have also been searching for a justification of continuing. My earliest mentor, Ronald Clayton, used to ask… “why does the world need another painting?” The moment you could not answer was the moment to reevaluate your own essence.

"And, irrespective of what one might assume, in the life of a science, problems do not arise by themselves. It is precisely this that marks out a problem as being of the true scientific spirit: all knowledge is in response to a question. If there were no question, there would be no scientific knowledge. Nothing proceeds from itself. Nothing is given. All is constructed." - Gaston Bachelard (La formation de l'esprit scientifique, 1934)

I have long reflected my work against the backdrop of redefining “what is common or accepted knowledge? and does that preclude change” … the shared generalization of a tree is just a tree because we have been told it is a tree. Rocks are only rocks because we inherited the knowledge and built ideas from that point forward. Constructivism leads my painting as a relative working theory. I want to adapt the rocks, trees and empty riverbeds from the accepted realist understanding and reinvigorate them as fresh malleable matter. A common statement that tends to reflect a bias against originality is “why reinvent the wheel?” My reply is that we do not reinvent the wheel to make it better or worse, but simply we do it to make it unique. The world is full of monotypes. Not all streams flow between the same hills, yet they still feed water. - North