I love art that is BIG, MESSY, chaotic but that has something that pulls it all together into a greater whole. This something is elusive and abstract expressionists spend eons trying to pin it down, define it and to master that je ne sais quoi. What is it that makes one set up brilliant and another look like a random and unfortunate accident in an artistic parcours? We intellectualise with concepts like composition, contrast, value, color theory etc… but in the end the something that makes it work is ethereal. The painting has soul or the painting moves the viewer. These are the thoughts that I entertain as I look at the work of today’s artists that inspire me; Robert Burridge, Nancy Hillis, Mary Ann Wakely, Wendy MacWilliams, Anne Laure Djaballah, Charlotte Faust, Robert Kingston and others.
These artists are BIG, they are MESSY, their work is all over the place. It’s exciting!!!! But it is not n’importe quoi, anything goes. I look at their work and think I should have painted that. It’s just so obviously right. Why didn’t I paint that? I am the first one to be fooled into forgetting that it’s damn hard to make beautiful (de)compositions like those. Hours can be spent deliberately trying to be nondeliberate, orchestrating spontaneity, and chasing freedom of expression. The whole endeavour is an oxymoron. There is passion in the doing but there is tension also. The thrill of inspiration in midflight can abruptly nosedive when that élan that should turn a good painting into a WOW painting ruins it instead. The damn-ugly-artwork was so close to being awesome. Let’s go, Gesso!
The opposite is also true when there is a synergy between me and the painting. In my studio, this happens when I follow the painting instead of leading it. When I allow it to unfold, I feel like the painting is calling out for something,calmly inviting me to intervene in a certain way. If I look, wait, listen to it, I will know. It’s about being with it. These ideas are not new to me - they bring me back to these words that I use when training psychotherapists…Trust the process. Trust yourself. You are the tool and the technique. Painting is quite similar in that way, It will only feel right if I do it through myself as the principal medium. I can’t be Robert or Nancy or Wendy and I will get lost if I go that route. It’s ok to be inspired but straying away from my own ground will result in ok paintings but ones that don’t have that something. The something that gathers and makes complete. I suspect that somethingis the felt sense of coherence that comes from being truly oneself through the painting. And then there is the matter of wild abandon…..
Anne is a painter a psychologist and an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa. Her paintings can be found in multiple private collections throughout Canada and the US. Anne`s work will be feautured on Artbomb next week and in September. You can also find more of her available artwork on our available page. http://www.artbombdaily.com/archive/artwork/available