1/14/18

 

Brian Oschwald ART         Ideas, Intentions, Means & Results    

(occasional notes)

 

The Noirest of my Betes:     

ART IS NOT A SEDATIVE FOR THE THE RICH   -although in history it may always have appeared to be just that.     Art !   of every kind   ART,  the most targeted zone of entitled ownership interest for the “nonce” enthusiasms of the 'smart' people, with their soft stupid momentary enthusiasms, their planet-sucking narcotic comforts,  their upholstered hapless soul-suffocating worlds.   I lean toward forgiving;   Art encourages it.

If / when a painting is not some illustration of an existing story -  resist inventing a story that the painting  'might/could'  serve as an illustration of.  To do otherwise is more a way of looking away from the painting than of looking at it, boldly living with & into the work itself in all of its uncooperative mystery.  Refrain from using the painting as a mere means to 'free-associate'.   Welcome then to the tensions you are left to feel: the discomfiting, exhilarating,  probing world of the maker, where Art & art-making mostly involves the process of making personal art- - not dishing up some anxiously conceived, monetizable product.  Most Art, and personal art-making greatly entails questions above all, not immediate or even eventual answers.

Compelling as serious art  encounters may be,  it is existentially pointless for the wise to expect or demand life-strengthening clarity, cultural certainty, or wayward spiritual consolation from the art object itself.  An art image, an art experience is just a doorway to a larger self finally brought about only through an ever deeper connection with other people. In each other -not in things- is the meaning we crave.  Art of any kind -in a limited way- can enable one to migrate toward that truth.

 

History & the Future

  • father: near-blind architect w/zero affect.  mother? - a co-depedant-ish bible chorister
  • i've always loved being read to
  • everyday i choose clothing for the the world i see inside and the music I hear inside   if I don't paint.. still I ponder materials, texture, color, and design, season by season  there is no greater source of aesthetic wisdom apart from nature than world ethnic fabric traditions
  • interests & exposure: history-hunger, academic philosophy suspicion, industrial design addiction, world-ethnic fabric cravings, traditional music longing, rose gardening discipline, cooking around & sometimes even past "healthy"
  • a [tendentiously] plausible future: impatient, searching color,  nearly reckless GEO-storms of gestation, and strength well beyond all necessary 'breakdowns', up new pathways (sometimes placid, sometimes ominous) to a reassembled heart, toward the better (though often quixotic) conditions of breakthrough and well-reckoned transformation
  • wellness alert !  i notice in myself a dizziness that occurs when writing about art  (especially mine). This froggy feeling emerges from a sense of the looming risk of over-simplification or empurpled over-statement that accompanies the embarrassing freedom that artists claim to suggest world defining values and meaning.
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  • Motivation, Audience
  • perhaps the committed  art pilgrim murmurs / hopes   "move me"     move me deeper into myself, into what's worth living for...   
  • can I engage peripatetic viewer-collectors who scrutinize, think, study, and query the maker & others about what they notice in life, and qualify as art-worthy subjects of delectation and debate ?
  • may i  elaborate the threshold ?   i long to 'place"   what I make, not merely 'sell' what i make
  • shall i  impatiently disricsturb complacency with fresh astonishment, breathing the light of unique color toward a viewer's fascination with the image, offering- in essence- a magnetic, livable, unavoidable, and seriously rewarding experience -tingling the spine in anticipation of possession (and lonely meditative viewing)?
  • without overreach ( fighting the "artiste's" predictably defensive self-importance)  this art may & should exist to protect, enable, and champion the nearly measurable conditions of human-cultural flourishing   
  • i am not afraid to contradict myself   i'm not afraId of things broken -then glued back together     (this is life for most people, isn't it?) 
  • I must say that it is tremendously hard to overcome illusions that benefit one personally  overcoming ego (that always force ready to subvert civic, fellow-feeling)  is a gigantic spiritual leap  (always darkly spring-loaded to snap! backward)     it's mountainous, totally exasperating     no other terms for it
  • what is my now-ness?   every day standing open to sudden, often unwelcomed  insights   the exuberant play of insinuating nuances newly defining the 'remote' and the 'familiar'
  • capture ideas (prose) & feeling (poetry) emanating from long standing curiosities, battles & daily diplomacies
  • scuba dive a deeper sea of absorption in the work process itself,  free of any presumed destination or specific 'explainable' result
  • each artwork here is an end in itself without reference to any external cultural project, standing solely on its capacity to garner notice, appreciation, returning the viewer to a self illuminated by emergent self-honesty
  • transcend life's daily MSG-marinated anarchies, the white noise of life, to notice, protect & expand single passing moments when noticing! becomes numinous  -by aesthetic absorption -to capture in bloods warm longing images irreplaceable:  truly common experiences of any small treasure seen large.

Influences & Appreciations

  • writers:   Rumi, Pasternak, Rilke, Woolf, Walser, Nabokov, Stevens, Sebald, Hitchens, Sam Harris

  • music: most early & classical, no trivial amount of jazz, miniscule pop, all world, folk and ethnic musics,  lute, viola da Gamba, the harp, woodwinds and bagpipe music

  • painters: Turner, Rothko, Olitski, Morandi, Diebenkorn, 'wabi-sab'i,  many more

  • architects:  MacIntosh, Wright, Kahn, Scarpa  a few more
  • architctural sculptors: David Smith, Chaleda, Schwitters, a few others

Theory   (Theoria = Contemplation, classically understood)       but...what's "the point" of  'theory'?

  • of a painting: meaning leaps toward understanding when the 'what' (subject)  &  the 'how' (methods)) are in alignment
  • immediately, directly, by allusion and implication, beauty is real and crucial everywhere now and in all of history   ugliness? thoughtful viewers gradually intuit that surface ugliness is a severe existential gateway to 'soul composting, offering odd unexpected healing or mitigation of fear, anxiety about our mortality, toward an emotionally disillusioned renewal at the deepest level of human selfhood
  • STRUCTURE: my understanding recognizes this in all art matters -- this personal,  generative X/Y Framework :  X is "Prospect"  /  Y is "Aspect":    1)   Prospect (X):= IDEAS emerging from the artists own lived social-cultural experience and judgement - the artist's conscious, rational viewpoint as to his labors time-bound cultural sympathies, focus, depth, breadth, hindsight, and foresight  2)   Aspect: (y) = all the visual, constructive style elements and evident effects of any kind whatever:  derivative appropriation,accidental  techniques & unique personal treatments:  means, methods: color, support materials, composition, shapes, sizes, textures,   X & Y are the two basic interdependent structural realms of this art, a matrix of self affimation and self scepticism
  • art accomplishments gradually earn their status as valuable reckonings of world-making when the work embodies compelling personal aesthetic evidence over time and circumstance for an inclusive variety of committed viewers
  • an art experience involves tacit knowledge, suggesting ongoing investigation by the maker and viewers as to how meaning and value are credibly birthed from raw materials + passionate labor (in so many astonishing ways, across history (histories) & cultures).
  • offering an art work & expecting to convey a specific meaning, or specific kinds of presumptively sharable meanings invites disappointment.   is it possible to ignore this ? 
  • re-appropriate an alternative role for Art in our culture i.e. to mitigate suffocating consumerism complacency and cynicism (at any degree of subtlety, with their pulpy muscles -deary timid & sad ]  while declaiming any philosophically regressive assertions of Arts'  vaunted agency as 'consolation & redemption'      in just that conflicted cultural crucible is the uncomfortable place where we can most deeply learn, and come to be more fully alive in both our aesthetic joys and our existential disappointments    Keats called that the place of  ---(counter intuitive term)---  'Negative Capability'  -- being decidedly suspended between opposing truth claims without anxious concession to either claim
  • intellectual probity throughout

Research & Development

  • notice  notice  notice   attention leads to devotion and illumination   of new habitable landscapes  previously shrouded in lazy if not willful obscurity  
  • not without at least some humor ---  a promising art soil is a lonely mind at ease with all kinds of uncertainty  conceding that sanitized  post-facto, spring-loaded story-making is specious
  • art-making - a playfully-serious way to hope, cope, contribute & honor imperfect individual subjectivity, and our thin-ish, gloaming collective life, now
  • each work begins with wayward record keeping / sleepwalking research into longings repetitive or never before encountered
  • references: garden composting, metallurgy, demolition, the hoped-for transmutation of mystery into recognition, thought into substance
  • studies & models:  rapid configuring of short-term prescience & fleeting entitlement

Subject matter:  Evocations

  • beauty and decay  -layered, scumbled [as signature]
  • beckoning, nearly inscrutable instances of subtlety overlooked
  • gusting veils that tempt or hide, mists, fogs & scrims that demure
  • meditation: new dimensions of useful affect beyond habitual strident emotions
  • archeology & civil engineering murmured
  • remoteness & familiarity revisited: the collective unconsciousness honored, and the aboriginal gene pool, the dark and beckoning "UR"
  • geometry and the detail of garden rooms: innocence and deep place-making in the primitive outer world of our civilization-sick present moment
  • sensing the city, the neighborhood of dubious self-knowledge & self-esteem beneath the 'urban thrall' of the surface image
  • from landscapes to IN-scape toward the GEO-figuration of the self newly imagined beyond the body

Studio Process, Methods, and Materials

  • oblique intentionality:   accidents, mistakes and unforeseen discoveries greatly figure in my work;  notice here results that emerge from 'well planned' goings-astray  e.g.   allowing spaces to exist where markings occur without hesitation or expectation
  • instrumental music practiced while viewing visual works in progress
  • (recently, I've learned to use my carrot peeler swiping it in both direction!s  wow, who knew)
  • oils, or mixed media on wood panel 
  • being clear about competing virtues: view presumed certainties through lenses that distort or over-sharpen
  • sonic involvement: hearing the sound of my scraping pallette knife / the brush wet or dry   allow the scratchy humble pencil to have its say
  • sculpture: material & constructs about architecture as comfort not pride,     [architecture - its brooding cycles of pride, origination and decay]

Composition, form, and Pattern

  • pattern recognition of GEO forms & shapes warm not cold, soft not hard, suggestive not defined, invitational not aggressive, insinuating not demanding,  poetic not clinical, of music not of warning, intuitive not imposed
  • ordering devices (ideas: kits & cases that hold), measuring devices, storage & filing systems as memory banks
  • varieties of symmetry and the centripetal forces of anti-symmetry
  • horizontal fields and networks are earthy / human, but vertical designs aspire   
  • hand tools that reach, grasp, shape, sever or binde
  • rhythmic loops / visually connective sinews & tissue  knitted together as visual fabric:  prospective worlds  & local repair campaigns in small mental neighborhoods

Color, Texture

  • bright palette or dark. pastels or dusty jewel-tones  colors mixed directly on surface: layered, excavated, scumbled rough /irresistibly suggestive
  • well broken color:  zones & levels of consciousness about adventuring absorption
  • visual and thematic translucence & transparency, squirmy overlappings   /      "crabs in a basket"   -"Justine"

Meaning:   Resistance & Resilience

  • believe that what is necessary is possible   then double down on being fully human, living large in a non-partitioned mind
  • aware of social fragmentation, and the relentless trivialisation of historical perspective and emotional honesty, we turn away from the mounting distraction, we inwardly return home to our unique understanding of how value is birthed;  where responsibility for value and meaning-creation in our lives resides in our ourselves how? (think oikos (grk): assembling available raw materials -mixing those with your passionate labor  essence of world-building  
  • world repair happens through all processes similar to art self making.
  • it seems that  at the greatest moments of tension & promise in creating or viewing an artwork  [i.e. a precious 'canister' of useful darkness and dream ]  the art work ceases to be about its obvious characteristics but instead emerges as a magnetic invitation to feel and have an expanded self, ever more inclined to live large
  • the collection of works here aspires to rise above its effects to emblematically suggest conditions of human flourishing
  • hear me raw: this artist works (yet indifferently) to be free of the need to explain anything,  while the viewer -fully engaged and dis-interested-  permits the artist this specific essential freedom    it's a shared grace in soul-making, flush with intimations of creaturely -yet trans-sensual- kinship
  • opposing self overreach, and of a chastened optimism, this work aggregates as a family of (country & urban) qualities of mind about the ultimate value of the arts -- in making and repairing the world-as-home.

Framing

  • gallery minimal, if 

 Collaberation

  • welcomed
  • artist-gallery agreement 

Commissions

  • welcomed

Prices

  • $8.75 sq. In. (small works)  adjusted  ++  for large pieces
  • payment plans available
  • barter?  perhaps

Will Deal Well.

 

END NOTE  

my Team -

who can 'best' Dante?    "Love Awakens the Soul to Act"

who may best Dante?  perhaps Simon Schama:   "Beauty is a Gateway to Love"

but i say   not the only gateway   managing well the dark primitive shadow in oneself is another gateway.

 

What all of this writing feels like -to me-here and now?

 "...late roses filled with early snow"     - T.S. Elliot