What do we carry forward? My family lived in New Jersey near Manhattan until I was ten, and although I have enjoyed spending my adult life as a photographer in the American West, when we left New Jersey for Wisconsin in 1947 I was homesick.
The only palliative I recall, beyond my parents’ sympathy was the accidental discovery in a magazine of pictures by a person of whom I had never heard but of scenes I recognized. The artist was Edward Hopper and one of the pictures was of a woman sitting in a sunny window in Brooklyn, a scene like that in the apartment of a woman who had cared for my sister and me. Other views resembled those I recalled from the train to Hoboken. There was also a picture inside a second-floor restaurant, one strikingly like the restaurant where my mother and I occasionally had lunch in New York.
The pictures were a comfort but of course none could permanently transport me home. In the months that followed, however, they began to give me something lasting, a realization of the poignancy of light. With it, all pictures were interesting.
Robert Adams in Art Can Help
A: I’d have to say that I identify most with surrealism, although my work does not exactly fit into any particular art historical movement. When I was first finding my way as an artist, I read everything I could find about surrealism in art and in literature. This research still res0nates deeply and is a tremendous influence on my studio practice. Elements of surrealism DO fit my work. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 20s and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. The aim was to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality.” Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes with photographic precision, created strange creatures from everyday objects and developed painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself.
Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact. Leader Andre Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was, above all, a revolutionary movement.
I hope to expand on this in a future post.
Comments are welcome!
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
The creative process remains as baffling and unpredictable to me today as it did when I began my journey over forty years ago. On the one hand, it seems entirely logical – insight building on insight; figures from my past, the culture, and everyday life sparking scenes and images on canvas; and all of it – subject, narrative, theme – working together with gesture, form, light to capture deeply felt experience. But in real time the process is a blur, a state that precludes consciousness or any kind of rational thinking. When I’m working well, I’m lost in the moment, painting quickly and intuitively, reacting to forms on the canvas, allowing their meaning to reveal itself to me. In every painting I make I’m looking for some kind of revelation, something I didn’t see before. If it surprises me, hopefully it will surprise the viewer, too.
Eric Fischl and Michael Stone in Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas
Comments are welcome!