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June 09, 2011

X, A, and M: another discussion on abstraction and representation.

I'm working on a large scale painting. One that swings decidedly to the representational side of things. I'm wondering about brain activity and how I engage in the act of painting when I think I already know something. Simply put, it's oh, how shall I say this, boring, to paint the "background." Before you smirk and act like I haven't thought this through, rest assured, I have. I understand that it is not simply a "background." I understand all the fundamental and relative aspects of what I'm doing, but what I find disengaging is the struggle to keep to my plan, the one which states that this will look like that, and that will exist in some sort of known perspective, and adhere roughly to the palette and value system I have imagined ahead of time. It's not there isn't any wiggle room- it's that this a priori way of working is tedious for me. I have to take frequent breaks, but when I step back, I feel gratified differently than I do with the abstract work. Not better, not worse, just different. Maybe my OCD is not strong enough to battle the monotony of a large patch of canvas painted roughly the same color. At a smaller scale, I am engaged, perhaps due to the abstract nature of the individual brushstrokes and my proximity to the canvas. I'm wondering if abstract painting, the act of, is more of a brain-teaser. It's possible I need to paint faster and more furiouser. That might solve The Last Year In Marienbad state I find myself in when working on a large-scale representational painting.  Is it truth? Is it fiction? Didn't I do this before? Haven't I been here? I could have sworn I worked that area before. I'm here again? No, Yes. Welcome to my ch√Ęteau.

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