PART I - For as long as
I can remember my father has been telling us, his children, this quote.
I remember him setting us down one day when we were very young, and he
said; "This is how you find". He proceeded to take out a cheap piece of
typing paper worth about two cents and a number two pencil, and he said;
"You need cheap paper
to find in, because it is in the imperfection that one can find, expensive
paper is too perfect to do anything with". From there he would point to
a part of the paper and ask us if we see an eye there, and we would say
yes, for in the imperfection we could see an eye. From the eye lead to
a nose, down to a body sitting on a chair, and next to a chair was some
strange animal sitting there. Then he reached over and grabbed one of the
colours from our crayola crayons and proceeded to colour in the background.
When it was finished, he said; "this is what picasso meant by finding".
And I myself have been doing it ever since.
My father began
painting back in the mid sixties after his second marriage. He began kind
of late in his life, in his thirties, and has told me that he always had
the urge to paint, but finally was compelled enough to really take off.
Here he got himself a studio downtown, a building shared by many artists
at the time; a sort of artists community, you could say. During this time
he was exploring what some of the more famous artists were doing, like
for example giacometti, de Kooning, francis bacon, and obviously picasso.
One can see in these early works, the obvious influences from some of these
artists. Also during this time he was entering a lot of competitions, being
excepted in new york, california, and seattle. Gradually he has done less
and less of that, concentrating his energy on making another piece of art;
and I imagine, at the age of seventy, competition doesnít mean much anymore.
PART II - My father thinks,
and so do I, that cubism, at least what braque and picasso were doing,
came from crumpling photographs or drawings; or a crumpled "source", as
my dad would call it. One can really see this in picassos painting "Les
Demoiselles díAvignon". In fact one can see where picasso imposed the african
faces upon the women, something I donít think was natural to the source,
but fitted picassos dominate personality and the african influence on him
at that time.
The early works
of braque, picasso, and even chagall show the immaturity at looking at
the "source". The crumpled effect really shows up in the art, and in the
early works of cubism almost overtakes the paintings. But as the artists
mature, the crumpled effect is somewhat lost, because, I think, it is no
longer needed; the artist begins to realize that it is the image that is
important, not the enhanced aesthetics. In my fathers early work, one can
see this same transition that takes place. Once my father realized this
idea of sources, he started looking everywhere for new kinds. He made paintings
from sources like, treebark, smeared mud, and even one of his old palettes.
The sources really become endless, because anything can become a source.
But the crumpled photograph seems to hold up the best, there is something
about taking the photo and changing the old reality (or as picasso said
it, "destroying the reality"), to have it become something new. "Finding
is the thing."
PART III - When we were young,
my dad would take us kids to the state park, going on great walks down
by the river; that is where we would go "junkiní", as my father would put
it. We would scavenge through the piles of drift wood washed up on the
river bank, trying
to find one that would appeal to our father. Sometimes he would stumble
upon an old burnt rotten tree stump, and he would say to us, "Itís not
the skin that makes the sculpture, itís the form." And so we would toss
it in the back of his truck, and take it home.
Over the years
my father has developed a mixture of cement, to where the consistency is
much like clay. Using the driftwood as a sort of skeletal structure where
one can simply attach the cement and then let it dry. The amazing thing
about cement, is itís ability to take on any kind of texture. Using plastic
containers, one can pour in the cement, and when its dry, simply take off
the container, and you have a nice, almost glasslike base for a new sculpture.
Itís as if you are taking the negative space, and making a new kind of
positive space out of it.
Lately, I have
been going with him to the wrecking yard, a new place that he has found.
There is a place where they take all the unused cuts of metal and pile
them before they ship them out by train to be melted down. In this pile
one can find some of the most extraordinary pieces of metal, ready to be
used and integrated into a piece of sculpture.
I saw a david
hockney interview on the TV, "The Southbank Show", on the bravo channel.
David hockney said that for the last century artists have been trying to
go around picasso. He said that picasso was like this huge mountain that
you couldnít go around, and the only thing one could do, was to go through
him. The problem with david hockney, is that he does not understand
what picasso was doing, so his attempts at this become nothing more than
weak imitations of picasso. A sort of trying to conceptualize what picasso
was doing. And it is not that david hockney is a bad painter, on the contrary,
but it is because he doesnít know how to find. I think my father has "gone
through" picasso. And I hope to show, in time, and on the internet, that
this is true, by trying to present the large quantity and the quality of
my fathers artwork.
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