Monday, September 17, 2007

Southern Abstraction

You know the routine... click the image to see the enlarged detail...

"Tallit, Southern Fields and Shmita", Sumi and Acrylic Ink and Paint on loose Canvas

Shmita is the law in Torah that states every seventh year the fields must be allowed to rest. According to the Jewish calendar, this is the year (5768).

My creative burnout factor has greatly increased over the past few months, as I find myself overwhelmed with continuous exhibitions and new land to explore and paint. To keep my interest-level and rapid production high, without degrading my level of quality… I have returned to my earlier forays of abstraction based upon the surrounding landscape.

My work has held a certain degree of abstraction to its mast for a number of years, but only occasionally have I driven my art towards a complete series boasting nearly 100% non-representative qualities. Yet, here I am. Attempting to usher in a Modernist art movement that already lived a full-life outside the southern states. While I realize that there have been plenty of other artists that explored the realm of abstraction while working in the South (Robert Rauschenberg and Julian Schnabel – both Texans which doesn’t necessarily constitute Southern; and of course, the artists of Black Mountain College, etc); I have to wonder why in this singular place, the concept of Modernism hasn’t stuck… at all? Imbued by barn paintings on saw-blades and actual old “pieces of wood salvaged from a barn”; I believe I know the answer and it’s hidden somewhere in the traces of a disappearing bible-belt, the slow advancement of higher education and an overall desire to remain socially simplistic in a radically ____________ world (you fill in the blank).

I’m not always sure why I chose a specific location when the need to move arises. Sure, I give myself a laundry list of reasons and rationales, but deep-down… I really only understand that most basic of desires - I need a journey. Part of needing a journey goes hand-in-hand with taking a break from the comfortable to explore that part of the psyche that we don't parade at parties. Rauschenberg probably said it best, though:

"You have to have the time to feel sorry for yourself in order to be a good abstract expressionist."

Happy Trails (or dark convoluted ones if that is what you need to get your creative juices flowing) - DN