The Studio of Eric Valosin

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Art of Flying

Hope you had a happy thanksgiving!  Mine was spent wearing a bowler, walking to Maine, and assuming that every irregularity I came across must by default be artistic.  It's funny how pervasive a way of looking at the world (like art) can be when you're inundated in it.  But now that I'm back from my little escape from artistic reality (...if by "reality" I mean "nonsensicality," and by "escape" i mean "suggesting only two destinations on our tour through downtown Portsmouth, NH, both of which were galleries.") I am once again left to the task of contemplating all this stuff I'm trying to do.  And besides, the fact that I've temporarily misplaced my notebook provides a perfect justification for why I'm writing this blog post rather than the 15 page paper that may or may not be due in 2 days!

I've been thinking about and discussing the problem of epiphany in my white canvases (a very seasonally appropriate problem, considering the first week of Advent...) (thank you for understanding that, Elaine.) which I had pondered with Robin Williams.  It seems to me that there needs to be a more physical presence in the layers that lead up to the final canvas, so that there is more of a concrete connection between the figure that is projected and the ground that it is projected onto (which holds the actuality of that entire process of creating the projected figure within it).  So, for my next project I think I will be attempting a much more textural, almost sculptural approach to the layered white canvas projection.  I still feel at a bit of a loss for the painted content, but I suppose I'll tackle one problem at a time.  If I can get my medium to address my concept before I even fill it with imagery, then the process of filling it will inevitably come, (Much in the way William Kentridge's charcoal erasure animations already speak of a state of being in post-apartheid South Africa before he ever even touches it.  Gee, I wonder who my 15 page paper is about?).  Well I'm sure there will be pictures of that to come.

Furthermore, I'm beginning an oil painting in which I'm attempting to delve into this notion of epiphany.  In conversation with my professor, Iain, it occurred to me that any sort of revelation, or commissioning, or any other spiritual endeavor for that matter, is impossible unless one takes particular interest in the act of self-preparation.  Specifically, the act of becoming actively passive;  Of deliberately and intentionally letting one's self be acted upon.  So I'll be painting this idea of preparing one's self for active passivity, and my goal is to not only paint a subject that is experiencing this, but to paint it in a way that is this experience - painting the tumultuous scene fairly benignly and using furiously active brushstrokes to paint the passive subject.  Hopefully this will satiate my other professor Julie's craving for a traditionally strong painting as well.  We shall see (the fact that I even suppose this probably means it will be a miserable failure).  Pictures of that in progress to come also, I'm sure.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with an excerpt by Douglass Adams which more or less sums up my practice of late:
"There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying.
The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
Pick a nice day, [The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy] suggests, and try it.
The first part is easy.
All it requires is simply the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and the willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt.
That is, it's going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground. Most people fail to miss the ground, and if they are really trying properly, the likelihood is that they will fail to miss it fairly hard.
Clearly, it is the second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties."

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