A: If I may speak in the most general terms, several qualities come to mind that, for me, mark real artistic achievement:
- firm artistic control that allows the artist to create works that simultaneously demonstrate formal coherence while responding to inner necessity
- the creation of new forms and techniques that are adapted to expressing the artist’s highly personal vision
- an authentic and balanced fusion of form, method, and idea
- using material from one’s own idiosyncratic experiences and subtly transforming it in a personal inimitable way during the creative process
- the meaning of the thing created is rigorously subordinated to its design, which once established, generates its own internal principles of harmony and coherence
Comments are welcome!
A: There is always a long gestation period as I reflect on the new experiences, sights, sounds, etc. after a trip. Bali is a fascinating place – the only Hindu outpost in the world’s most populous Muslim country – so I’m reading everything I can find. I’ve finished an historical novel, Love and Death in Bali, about the 1906 mass suicide of the royal family during the Dutch invasion. I’m slowly making my way through Bali: Sekala and Niskala, a densely packed book about the intricacies of Hinduism, rituals, and art, written with the help of our guide, Budi. In the short term I’m using more green pastels in my paintings. Amidst all of the tropical lushness, I must have seen thousands of shades of green. The volcano shapes in “Absence,” a pastel painting completed last week (see post of JUL 20), resulted from this trip. Other, more pronounced effects will probably show up later.