Tuesday, October 18, 2005



I’m having a difficult time getting back into the flow of blog writing. I think it’s partly because I always feel a little intimidated by some of the more articulately expressed (written) views on topics more worldly than I feel equipped to handle, issues that usually extend well beyond many of the personal artistic endeavors that I pursue. Nevertheless, I am going to try and pickup where I left off many months ago including some continuing stabs at “poetry.” I won’t be writing much, if at all, on the recent trip to Spain that my pal Richard Cohen and I shared this year. His writings have been exemplary and I share much of his thoughts to date and If there is a difference between us that stands out ( I believe Richard may have hinted at it in the context of the “ Romantic’) it will probably show up more by reading each of our blogs.

So… Having said that…I am having a brain cramp! I have this diploma I received some years ago hanging behind me in my office. It’s from the “Cartoonist’s Exchange,” Pleasant Hill. Ohio. It’s dated November 12th, 1957, the year I completed the correspondence course that it signifies. ( Pic#1) I am finding it very intimidating. I spent hours on end during those early years developing a great love for comic book illustration, something I haven’t looked back on for almost fifty years! But recently, when I began reading Chicago artist Chris Ware’s work, especially Jimmy Corrigan, ( pic#2 ) published by Pantheon Books, I felt a strong pang in my chest to relive some of those early childhood romances with being an artist.

Since my return from working in Spain this summer, and having worked in ceramics, a new medium for me, I have been in a quandary that stems primarily from one of the ceramic pieces. It was the final work in the project and incorporated an idea I had about Goya’s deafness ( Pic#3…the sequence leading up to the final piece. Pic#4.larger version of the final piece ). The image turned out to be more figurative and representational than abstract and I was perplexed. Happily perplexed, since new discoveries are so much of what art-making can be about, but nevertheless, uncomfortable. Not because I didn’t like the result but because it snipped me off from the threads of picture-making that I am more familiar with.

I was told by my gracious host and collabotaor, and a few artists whom I respect, that it sparked of Miro and Dali! Now my work has been described in various ways, but never have I been in a situation that prompted a depiction associated with surrealism! Over the last thirty years I have fought the good fight of disclaiming the pretensions of minimalism (at least as I see it ) as my guiding light, although stylistically it has been the visual language that has brought attention to my work. But Miro and Dali? Too much. Too late. Too old!

However, it brought back to mind that some months ago while working on an image very similar to “La Duquesa de Gallifa.” ( Third image from the left in Pic#3 ) I inserted an image of the nearsighted Mister MaGoo using Photoshop ( Pic#5 and Pic#6… directly related to my interests in “perception” ) ). It was a moment during my play that has constantly been on the back of my mind. Since the very beginning of my trek with painting I have always had a running battle with how “perception” in all its nuances, conceptual ,philosophical, physical (blindness), verbal and visual, affects self-comprehension in art-making. It led to a number of pretentious assertions on my part underpinned with philosophical writings and jargon, much of which I didn’t really comprehend but was able to make “fit” my thinking at the time. It worked……..for awhile. Without listing all the ism’s that tailed off at the end of each of my ventures, suffice to say that the one issue that seemed to determine all my “moves,” was “perception,”, the act of seeing and thinking. Yet after thirty some years I’ve resolved nothing ( Hmmmm… I’ve always told my students that’s the way it should be). So…as I contemplate moving forward from the journey I have been on all summer, cartoons have crept back into my head; especially the nearsighted Mr. Magoo, who, by the way, I have begun to accept as my alter ego.

I should add that their are also some very personal motivations and inspiration that has accompanied my work over the last few years and in fact are directly related to the title of my blog. And in many respects it contributes a larger part to the work than anything else. However, those must remain with me.

So…..Although I would like to be able to bring to my blog a more worldly dialogue in the spirit of social responsibility, I am instead, going to refocus on the very selfish love I have for playing with imagery and writing “ poetry.” I hope you will join me for the ride.
As always I look forward to the wonderful insights your comments have brought forward in the past.


Blogger Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Mr. Magoo!? I never would have guessed. Strangely, I sometimes thought of my mother as a female Mr. Magoo, and you and she had an affinity.

In #5 & 6 you've made him into a character in a Japanese manga. I imagine speech balloons filled with ideographs.

Welcome back!

1:45 PM  
Blogger Lhombre said...

Yooooooooooooou...are reading my mind! I wonder what my "abstract" balloons will look like? We'll see.

Yes. Your mom and me did relate quite nicely. My guess is she might be riding one of those balloons that look like a cloud. Shaping it with "insights" that will hold it aloft forever, and ever, and ever. Mom's are like that.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

I find this post and these images so rich, if divergent. Meaning from 'high' art, and a discussion of perception, mention of minimalism, surrealism, Goya and ceramics, and they're beautiful works, to the entry of Mr. Magoo, cartoons, the bustle of the 'street,' what kids read in a weekend newspaper, so to speak. It's magoo-boggling! Or Magoo blogging! And, yes, ideographs, Richard's right, that's what his balloons will be filled with!

I like this post because you've opened out, are presenting what's behind the productions, the trains of thought, so much of art is what we can't know, the thoughts of the artist while creating the piece, and because it's chock-full, rich, spanning so much...

8:36 PM  
Blogger Lhombre said...

I guess divergent really sums it up Brenda. There have been so many things that have entered into "play" in my life. Personal relationships notwithstanding, I have found that my life’s experiences and my interaction with the arts have often been determined and enhanced by various modes of chance. I’m tempted to say “Karma” but as things still play themselves out I’m not sure if that actually will be one of the determining factors.

More to the point, for me at least, is shrouded in an interest in probing and trying to understand how imagery has helped me shake hands with life. There is a very poignant article written by the art critic Michael Kimmelman in today’s Weekend Art’s section of the New York Times on the present retrospective of the marvelous painter Elizabeth Murray at the Museum of Modern Art. I am about to post some thoughts on how I see his review as it pertains to some of my own interests in painting that I alluded to a few days ago in an earlier post.

Thanks again for your comments. As always you are very encouraging and supportive.

10:22 AM  

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