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Pearls from artists* # 560

"Broken," soft pastel on sandpaper, 38" x 58" image, 50" x 70" framed
“Broken,” soft pastel on sandpaper, 38″ x 58″ image, 50″ x 70″ framed


*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

In describing her technique, Joan [Mitchell] once said, “I don’t go off and slop and drip. I ‘stop, look, and listen!’ at railroad tracks. I really want to be accurate.” One can imagine every stroke applied, every drizzle of pigment – both those visible in the finished work and those buried beneath its many layers – being the result of just such consideration. The majesty of Joan’s painting, which she would call City Landscape, was a quality it shared with all great art – the sense that it had always existed, and that during one inspired moment it had been dredged from the subconscious depths by a hand and mind graced with the talent and vision to retrieve it for the rest of us. That revealing work, so exuberant, so deep, so masterful, and so unlike the shards and violent explosions that had been her signature, was the result of Joan’s having survived a personal hell and her own imperfections. It was her prize for having persevered, and all who saw it were the beneficiaries.

Mary Gabriel in Ninth Street Women

Comments are welcome!

Pearls from artists* # 139

"Broken," soft pastel on sandpaper, 38" x 58"

“Broken,” soft pastel on sandpaper, 38″ x 58″

* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

Leaving a show of Pat Steir’s work called Winter Paintings at Cheim & Read Gallery, I thought back some years to when the Walker Art Center’s then curator Richard Flood was walking us through the Center’s collection and we came upon an abstract expressionist painting by Joan Mitchell that was so striking I asked him why it had taken so long for her to be recognized.  He answered with a wry expression:  “It’s the problem of beauty!”

A few days earlier our friends Kol and Dash came to lunch at our home, and Dash said at this time most visual art is conceptual.  “It’s a way of thinking,” she said.

Story/Time:  The Life of an Idea/Bill T. Jones

Comments are welcome! 

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