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Post #564 • June 23, 2005, 8:53 AM • 145 Comments

Self Portrait with Casement Window, 32 x 28 inches, acrylic on board.




June 23, 2005, 7:02 PM

Nice combination of rough textures and relatively lyrical coloring.



June 23, 2005, 7:33 PM

Really nice selfportrait, reminds in a good way on Soutine a little. I really like the handling of the face too.

Best regards



June 23, 2005, 8:07 PM

I thought of Soutine as well, especially the handling of the arms and hands.



June 23, 2005, 9:26 PM

are you kidding me? everyday i log on to to this site to see what you have posted and to see what your discussing, and everyday i see you tear down work of substance and fuss over saccharine works with trite connotations. this painting isnt art its just a picture, a bad one at that.



June 23, 2005, 9:28 PM

I check from time to time this site I don't participate but overall interesting and educational discussions happen here. Regarding the posting painting. Obviously what makes paintings unique from the other mediums, particularly photography, is a texture. You are not concern with precise copy of reality but interpretation of it with intelligently placed and aestheticly appealing brush strokes. This is very difficult to do, because each brush stroke needs to "make sense" in a whole picture. This is where oil painting's complexity is coming from. Controlled and thoght through strokes are usually better than accidental and emotional charged which leads to patchy, chaotic and overall boring paintings (of course this my personal opinion). Although accidents frequently leads to other interesting solutions, but again thoughtful solution. I think the painting in this respect is intriguing. The visual swinging between representational reality and abstractionism of artist's mind can grasp attention of viewer and the strokes are good quality as far as I can see on the screen.

The problem starts how can I, as an artists, to differentiate myself from the rest of 5 milion artists in US (whatever the number is)? A woman sitting in a chair or flowers in the vase even with the most elaborate brush stroke won't earn artist's living any more. I think the only way to stand out from the crowd is to make your art very, very personal. Don't follow artistic trends but rather make journey of self explorations. Put on canvas your fears, nightmares, your weaknesses you struggle with and interpret them artistically. So the viewers can relate to it as they relate to other human beings in real life. In this respect the posted painting is not surprising but rather one out 5 milions similarly painted. Good luck.



June 23, 2005, 9:39 PM

all i can think to say is duh! mike, this site doesnt need another idiot so please stop.



June 23, 2005, 9:50 PM

franklin, i noticed with this and the other painting you did for the esperanto show that the composition is very basic. one centralized figure, smack in the middle. is this something you're exploring or did it just happen?



June 23, 2005, 9:53 PM

oh and spierd, chill out. negative criticism is fine, its great actually, but atleast elaborate on what reasons you have for not liking the piece. what about the piece doesn't work for you?


June 23, 2005, 9:55 PM

i as well check out this site from time to time. normally i do not participate in the discussions. i just wanted to write that it is nice to see an image of a painting here. it feels like a window of air. i question the reason for the above commentors to post nasty remarkls about the painting. why would they post negative feedback about the work of an artist they do not even know? i like this painting. i can see the soutine similarities, or even david park, but in the end these references are not that important.

i post drawings or paintings on my site almost everyday and realise that it can be a bit stressful to put things out there in such a public venue.



June 23, 2005, 10:14 PM

spierd, a painting is a picture.

Suppose you give me some examples of paintings which deal with issues you are interested in? I need a frame of reference.



June 23, 2005, 10:16 PM

allow me to explain:
theres nothing particularly interesting or expressive about this painting. i find the salonesque style and color scheme of the painting to be not only passe but unexpresive. the composition is basic and unthoughtful, the brush work, when you look at it, is quite basic. furthermore its just the type of brushwork i would expect a simpleton to deem as lyrical or expressive. this painting reminds me of someone who has no idea how to really paint, so he turned to abstract work inorder to hide his inadequacies. i am a student of parsons school of design, and inorder to get accepted i had to go through several critiques and reviews. i am certain that if i as a freshman would have applied to the school with a piece like this i would have been rejected. so you as an adult "artist" should hold higher standards for yourself. i know it may be tough to muster up the guts to put yourself out there, but this sort of work isnt even worthy of an explanation this long.



June 23, 2005, 10:24 PM

Jack, Hans, thank you. Soutine's a favorite and I'm glad I've reminded anyone of him.

Mike, thank you. I think, even more to the point, you have to make the work you feel like making. Whether that's personal content as you're describing it or something else, you have to be interested in your own subject and style. I think you could be in for a disappointment, because even your self-explorations are going to resemble those of a lot of people - with all the artists in the world this is nearly inevitable. So I would say, don't follow trends, sure, but don't even think of what other people may or may not be doing. There's a set of art you like to look at, and a set of art you can make, and your job is to work in the overlap as well as possible - differentiating yourself or earning a living be damned. I paint for me, a few people I respect, and some dead heroes.

Speird, thank you. I don't expect everyone to approve of what I write or paint, or even understand it. Mostly, I'm concerned with creating good art and clear prose about it, and I trust in my own judgment to accomplish that. Probably a lot of people share your disapproval, but if you come here every day, like you said, maybe more of this speaks to you than you let on. As for myself, even regarding art that I unload heavy ordnance on, I usually stop short of saying that it's not art because this is a very hard case to make about something presented as art. If you think you can I'd like to see you try, for my own edification.

Eddie, I load up the centers of a lot of compositions. It's a habit I should probably see about getting out of. How's NY treating you, man?

Ah, Speird returns. As it happens, I was accepted to Parsons but opted to go to RISD instead. Thanks for your feedback.



June 23, 2005, 10:24 PM

spierd, I asked you to give me some examples of paintings which deal with issues you are interested in? how about it?



June 23, 2005, 10:30 PM

I like the painting.



June 23, 2005, 10:34 PM

thats very admirable of you frank

george i have been tossing the work of neo rausch around my head lately, as well as several other german painters. i am a long running fan of gerhard richter, cy twombly, agnes martin, chagall and eric fischl, and sol lewitt has been an endless inspiration

also richard serra what do you think of his latest exhibition at guggenheim in spain?



June 23, 2005, 10:49 PM

I think Franklin's painting is pretty good, Spierd. The Soutine and Park references are appropriate.

You say you are a "long running fan of gerhard richter, cy twombly, agnes martin, chagall and eric fischl, and sol lewitt". And Neo Rausch.

You and everyone else. What is it with these artists? Who makes these lists? Is there an artist you like who everyone else in the art world doesn't like?

I'm just curious. I'm puzzled how certian artists, some of whom I think are pretty ordinary, get to the top of everyone's list.



June 23, 2005, 11:09 PM


Yikes, a pup, full of spit and vinegar, that's good. A word of caution, 90% of art school graduates are doing something else by the time the're 40. Live and let live.

A couple of observations, I find it hard to envision a color scheme that is passe. For even to touch upon this territory would be expressive and carry content as reference to a past. I argued this at length in a previous discussion on Neo Rauch. Your observation that one would view a brushmark (knifemark) in a way one would deem as lyrical or expressive is a personal attribution and not broadly true. The process of making a mark is central to painting, it is, in all its guises, flat, fat or flailed, expressive to some extent. Just a toolmark. Also, it's a small point, but the painting is not abstract, at least on my computer.

You might read comment[47] in yesterdays discussion on "neomodernism" I also answered your question on Serra there higher up. While there is always great danger of being trapped in a rut, reexamining past paradigms also has the potential to break away from the current local history (art mag stuff) While I think it's important to have an opinion, it's also handy to keep an open mind, for the solution you might be looking for, can appear in unexpected places.



June 23, 2005, 11:12 PM

Real thruthes are often very simple. To paint something "simple" new, is a very hard task. You can often not really plan it, it cooks a while in your brain and then it unexpected happens.
Its a painter, he stands in front of its image. Its an painting about making paintings, about making images of images of images. Its in a blog in the end. It is about the doubting artist as he turns from his work and asking himself "What the hell I am doing here in this Studio ?" It is in tradition of Rembrandt, who often picked this topic.
Its not only about brushstrokes, but painting is about light. Its has a very nice light, a very nice (seems only simple) composition, a unique play of colours, a slight but not boring reference to the shoulders we stand on, name Soutine or maybe Auerbach.
Great discussion about a nice painting.



June 23, 2005, 11:20 PM

As for Neo Rauch: When I see one or two (and I saw them first back in 1999) there are inspiring and interesting. As soon as I see a whole show or a catalogue of his works I get bored to death. He is much overrated, just my opinion, but of course has a very clever Gallerist, Judy Lybke from Eigenart.

(He did such terrible stuff in 1988-1989, I think an artist can not run away of his character, and what I saw then, I didn't like the attitude.)



June 23, 2005, 11:21 PM

Hans, is it Friday morning where you are?



June 23, 2005, 11:29 PM

Its 0.27 am, but at 5.15 am I have to pick up some guys from the Airport Tbilisi. Anyway my Blog-Time is at night, when my kids are sleeping and give me a rest ;-)



June 23, 2005, 11:32 PM

Hans, Auerbach is also an interesting reference for Franklin's painting. I think he has indicated an admiration for Auerbach in the past. And your comments about light are good. Keep posting.



June 23, 2005, 11:35 PM

I think we scared spierd ?



June 23, 2005, 11:36 PM

We speared spierd



June 23, 2005, 11:42 PM

As spierd does I also like Gerhard Richter a lot, but why us humble daubers compare with him ? Or what can be made with brushes and paint after Richter (and Soutine) ???



June 23, 2005, 11:53 PM

Hans, you write "Or what can be made with brushes and paint after Richter (and Soutine)"

Gosh, I dunno. I think artists were saying things like that about Giotto's. Soutine is long gone and Richter's art has all the appeal of a 3-day old cadaver. I don't think there is a problem.



June 24, 2005, 12:02 AM

Thanks to all for the compliments. Mark, I seem to have developed bulletproof levels of resistance against artistic criticism, so posting work doesn't really stress me. (Besides, I figure I'd better be able to take at least what I dish out...) George, well put (#17 et al.). Eva, thanks; I have family in Portland and plan to look you up the next time I'm out there.

Anyone who's interested in my take on Richter can see it here.

Hans, bravo. I admire that kind of thing in Morandi, that his work hardly does anything except function extremely well.

Today we've heard from Miami, Portland OR, Brooklyn, Montreal, and Tbilisi. I love blogging.



June 24, 2005, 12:06 AM

Oldpro, Yes of course, I am not saying that we can not paint anymore, because that freedom gave us Duchamp and the Dada-Guys and others. But still, you are in a comparision on your own and with your own with what has been done by the others. Maybe you in America feel that less, because of the exploding Pollock, but for me in Germany the German expressionists had been a big hurdle, I tried to jump over and failed, to get told and learned by the Dutch postmodernists later, that this makes no sense. One must try to be the most of your own, as this was said here in this discussion too. In that case I like the initial painting too.

Richter: The works I like most, are not the painterly works:

first: The Mirrors

second: The field paintings like the 4096

third: his Grey paintings

and then the Rest, whats also not bad.




June 24, 2005, 12:07 AM

What a bunchof oldies buttering sugary phrases and bequeathing praise to each other... more about complacency than anything else



June 24, 2005, 12:20 AM

Try to add something, Melis. Pure snottiness doesn't hack it.



June 24, 2005, 12:25 AM

Right, Metisss - speaking of complacency, often people come through here, drop a few snaps, think they've made their point, and leave. You want to disagree, great, but form an argument or we're just going to blow you off.



June 24, 2005, 12:35 AM

...when painters talk to painters, it may be boring for some conceptualists...
As for your critique on the Richter-show and his lifetime work on
I think you got a lot things wrong, or you are very right from your point of view.
He was obsessed with the magic of simple Black-White-bad-quality-newspaper-photographs. Why they are obviously more "convincing" no matter how bad the photo is itself, than any painted image in his time of the 60s and 70s. So, as he is a really with- himself- struggling- and- doubting- artists it took him some years, to figure out, what can be painted about this phenomena. Funny, that the real icons today of the practical and intellectual failures of the Baader-Meinhoff-Bande are what ?: Richters images ! Wich beat every time document of that time in intensity. But it was very interesting to me to read, how one not-involved (in German debates) American like you read this paintings, and honestly saying, that they are boring. This gives me something to think about. But whom I find really boring, that's Luc Tuymans, because that stuff is really not convincing on the Art-side, on the Paint- side I can understand that some folks like it, but this boring for me too.
As for the later Richter, what comes in my mind when I stand in front of his abstract works is: Johann Sebastian Bach




June 24, 2005, 12:36 AM

Frankly, I found spierd's comments refreshing. It's good he has an attitude and was willing to come out and say what he thought. I don't have a problem with his list of artists either, but you know me I like Neo Rauch and Twombly and Richter



June 24, 2005, 12:48 AM

I'm about half way through this piece...
The half life of painting by Hans V. Mathews in Frontline, India's National Magazine

"Grasping these as works of art seems to require a very different set of reflexes than viewers of paintings have hitherto had."

The frame of reference here is interesting as he discusses Richter, Polke and Neo Rauch from outside the western sphere.



June 24, 2005, 1:21 AM

Thank you very much for finding this nice article and ideas. I did not understand everything, as have to read it again. I think he says, that some art can survive only with considering its production-context, other art can survive without any (art-) context, take van Goghs Boots, or self-portraits. You do not need to know anything on painting in 1880-90 seeing a van Gogh, but you need to know a lot of context on Richters "Evening mood" to honour it better than other (f.e.) Indian "contemporary" paintings. I like it, that India looks pretty close to the really interesting questions, while others seem to be fascinated by some strange lists of revenue of certain artists.

Before I forget, who was famous in 1890, whom anybody remembers today ?

Do you know Hans Markart ? Today ? No, he is forgotten, and that is what will be in front of a lot of "hype" artists of our days.



June 24, 2005, 1:43 AM

franklin, thanks for asking, ny is treating me well financially but i'm ashamed to say i haven't done much with promoting my paintings over here. i guess the famaliar issue of having to make a living has interferred with my getting around to the galleries up here. but that's no excuse and atleast i have been painting, i'm pretty excited about my recent work although it's getting harder and harder to stick to one signature style and that will probably be a problem. but what the hell, i believe in the work so screw it. anyhow, i'll get back to you on the situation with the galleries over here, in a few weeks. thats when i plan to start making the rounds. oh by the way, can anyone suggest some galleries i should check out in ny, that are interested in showing new artists.



June 24, 2005, 1:48 AM

Hans, I did not understand everything, as have to read it again

moi aussi :-)



June 24, 2005, 1:52 AM

i too have heard alot of people name-drop the new leipzig artists as their favs. but i assume its becuase they've been showing up in mags like "art in america" and "modern painters". so they're "in" now, and people that want to sound like they what's what, will all of a sudden be fans of whatever's "in". however, regardless of the posers, i must say i too appreciate some of these german artists.



June 24, 2005, 2:00 AM

Hans, my probalem with Richter's art is not what he says he is trying to do or his circumstances or recent German history. My problem is that the work is not interesting artistically. It is cold and dead. That's all I care about.

George, I do not find Spierd's comments "refreshing". It is possible to be oppositional and be refreshing, but his comments were the usual run-of-the-mill run-off-at-the-mouth type thing you see in so many "chat" forums, which seem to be tolerated in the name of "openness". To hell with it. Civility and intelligence, please.



June 24, 2005, 2:09 AM

Markart's paintings are hanging in public collections all over Europe, Hans. And in the Musee d"Orsay in Paris. And in the Hermitage. There's one in our own Bass Museum. I bet they go for very hefty prices at auction.

Not my taste, but the man could sure paint. That's more than I can say for most of our current art stars.



June 24, 2005, 2:13 AM

To Eddie,

I was not in New York since 1999...

But I really like Roebling Hall !
And my friend and admired artist Guy Richard Smit, who is (I guess) into what to do, or better not. It would be a favour and pleasure to me, if you call him and give him my greetings and tell him.
I do not know, but his website is (of his band) and for the rest it should not be a problem to find his telephone out. Maybe he is on tour with the Band in England, but if, comes back of course soon back to Brooklyn.



June 24, 2005, 2:21 AM

To Oldpro,

Do you consider Hans Markart an Artist ? Come on. That he still hangs in some minor (;-)) museums is no proof. I mean he was the real hype then, and was paid huge moneys, while one could buy a Cezanne for a todays 100 Dollars.



June 24, 2005, 2:34 AM

hate to disapoint you, but you didnt scare me off, or disapoint you. i was just taking care of a few things in my studio preparing for my move back to the city. first off,

oldpro: i find your ineffectual banter about the "deadness" of richters work and your complaining about my incivility is quite boring. might i recomend you get a real oppinion.

eddie: suggesting that i only mentioned neo rausch because i wanted to seem in the know, is just the sort of stuff i would expect oldpro to say. i dont even read those magazines, and i only mentioned that i had been thinking of his work lately, i mentioned those artist because they create works of substance, works that include pollitical agendas, social commentaries, and sardonic images poking fun at social morrays. creating works of substance (real art) is what moves people, what interests them and what reflects on society as a whole. not to digress, but going back to franks painting, it includes none of those themes, hence its just a picture.

hans: i like the comment about lybke, i agree and that is an interesting perspective on art.

metissss: if your still there i couldnt agree more.



June 24, 2005, 2:40 AM

Of course he was an artist, Hans, but a very conventional one. He prospered mightily while Cezanne went nowhere. It is the old story.

I would venture to say that Richter coud be today's Markart. He has skills, and, in todays terms, he is painfully conventional. We think he is in the forefront and hot stuff. That's what they thought about Markart in Vienna in 1880.



June 24, 2005, 2:41 AM

now enogh of the intellectual pissing contests, can we talk about art now?

what about damien hirst, my oppinion is still out. but lately i have been in love with felix gonzalez-torres. his "portrait of ross" was so moving to me.



June 24, 2005, 2:44 AM

great that you are back. Nobody wanted to frighten you, but instead you, as a new wild student in the art scene, and in art history-,--you should frighten the old warhorses like us ! (Hey, cleaning the brushes is also art, not anybody knows that, f.e. I never learned to do that after work, I just throw them in a corner...)



June 24, 2005, 2:47 AM

ha, me too
i have lost so many brushes that way



June 24, 2005, 2:49 AM

Well, Spierd, I thought I gave a few real "oppinions". I might "recomend" you learn how to spell.

What are "social morrays", exactly. Eels that talk to each other?

And Franklin's painting is "just a picture"? I'm horrified! I'll have to talk to him about this.



June 24, 2005, 2:55 AM

Yes, that hurt's when you want to go on on the battle, and no normal brush is at hand. But to talk about painting anyway needs +-300 batteled paintings in the back ;-)



June 24, 2005, 2:57 AM

ah yes, call him please do. if i didnt think you were an idiot before your last comment i do now. you dont know what a social morray is? wow. i would recomend a dictionary or a google search to further your lofty understandings.



June 24, 2005, 3:00 AM

It's "social more", Spierd.

Do they have remedial reading & writing up at Parsons?



June 24, 2005, 3:06 AM

Now you got me doing it

"social mores" is the correct term.

Look it up yourself. Spell check might help.



June 24, 2005, 3:09 AM does not recognize your spelling oldpro

what does everyone think of felix gonzalez-torres, hurry before i get bored again.



June 24, 2005, 3:12 AM

Hans, some of those late Richter abstractions were lovely. It's the earlier work I couldn't find much in.

George, I gave up on that Hindu Times piece for now but thanks for linking it. I like knowing what else is going on out there.

Oldpro, the Bass has a Markart? And Hans, sure, he's an artist. Why not? I'd still prefer a Cezanne.

Spierd, you may not read those mags, but you sure know the drill: pollitical agendas, social commentaries, and sardonic images poking fun at social morrays. creating works of substance (real art) is what moves people, what interests them and what reflects on society as a whole. That kind of talk probably flies at Parsons real well, but to think it separates the real from the false in art as an ultimate test means that you don't believe in art as art. I do. Many people make art according to that shopping list above but that doesn't invalidate everything that isn't made according to it. Art doesn't lie within those constraints or any other. I've said it before: art is free to do whatever it wants. Including suck.

And how is it that you speak for all people and what moves them?

One of my favorite quotes comes from John Brunner:

There are two kinds of fool. One says, "This is old, and therefore good." And one says, "This is new, and therefore better."

Illustration of social morays.

If we talk about Felix Gonzalez-Torres then I'm going to get bored.



June 24, 2005, 3:14 AM

ah yes, now i have it, thanks for the correction oldpro, now my spelling problems wont get in the way of your bantering


Bill Wilson

June 24, 2005, 3:14 AM

This self-portrait depicts a human body with the organic order of bilateral symmetry, a visual argument for proof of an order in nature that humans participate in. The organic human body is at the center of at least two symmetrical inorganic rectangles. The body is in front of a pictured painting; that simulated painting is within the actual painting. The actual painting exists on two planes, the material plane of paint that cannot be seen on this screen, and the focal plane or picture plane, hovering variably over the material surface, and also not experiencable on this screen. The human figure and the pictured painting are both vertical, that is, upright, or in other words, upstanding, the position of the just, and of those who honor an objective civil or religious justice: "Please rise!" On the pictured painting is a landscape, with green below and blue above, promising an order in nature one can see in Poussin, where the order of nature revolves with the order of justice. As Wallace Stevens writes, "Morning and evening are like promises kept." In this sketchy landscape, everything is as it should be, in its natural or proper place ("God's in His Heaven/ All's right with the world" ??) Both the pictured painting and the actual painting acknowledge the objectivity of rectangles: that is, each acknowledges the edge of its canvas, so that the subjectivity in the apparently spontaneous and subjective brush-strokes are governed by objectivities like the objectivity of the rectangle. The painting has many implications, among them the political implication that we can accept the delights and keen joys of our immediate sensations with splashy paint, yet on the condition that we accept ideas of order and governance that are like the governance of objects by the rectangle. A rectangle may seem self-controlled, but a rectangle is answerable to an ideal euclidian rectangle that is so far from being derived from experience that it is a criterion imposed on experience. "Shape up," as some of us used to say. Setting aside constructivist geometry, for most people the ideal triangle obeys rules that are immutable and eternal. In this painting, the paint is allowed to flow in a fluid process, but it is constrained by the criteria of a product, a rectangular painting. I note that the artist depicts both a wall and a floor. The way things stand in a work of art is a model for the way the artist thinks that things should stand in existence. A wall of a room represents the limits of subjectivity, insofar as feelings reach a wall, but are not supposed to penetrate it. Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso both mischievously subverted, if not sabotaged, walls. In an era of foundationlessness, when we may be told that we live within simulacra, the floor beneath our feet cannot be a deceptive illusion. So this comfortable painter is fortunate in having objectivities to respect, even to obey, and a secure foundation in the sense of a place to stand upright and symmetrical, amidst unrehearsed immediacies of paint. That the subjectivities in personal marks with paint, and colors expressive of momentary feelings, obey the objectivities of the rectangles may be the same as the refreshing lack of narcissistic self-absorptions.



June 24, 2005, 3:19 AM

...sad, for me its time to the airport, I hope to see the talks going on, or franklin needs tomorrow to post a new painting, and spierd: Good to meet you, anyway interesting to know, whats mind is at Parsons today.



June 24, 2005, 3:19 AM

wow bill thats really strugglin for something, im almost impressed by your abillity to b.s.



June 24, 2005, 3:21 AM

Wow. Bill, that is most definitely the first time that "simulacra" has ever been employed in conjunction of my work. Thanks for the analysis. You're not this guy by any chance, are you?



June 24, 2005, 3:25 AM

Bill, this one was good, I think I can not make to my car... ;-)



June 24, 2005, 3:31 AM

Franklin, I can;t believe you actually came up with those "social morays". Amazing.



June 24, 2005, 3:39 AM

Google returns 117,000 results for "social mores", Spierd. Try it. Learn something.



June 24, 2005, 4:21 AM

Felix Gonzalez-Torres is the single most important artist to have existed in the 20th century. Just my two cents.



June 24, 2005, 4:38 AM

Thank you, Felix



June 24, 2005, 6:17 AM

Bill Wislon deserves some sort of prize for art talking. Most of the profs around my school love to hear grads talk like that too, so some of us give them what they want. But seeing it all laid out like that gives me some pause. It is a distraction from the picture, which really is quite startling, until you read everything Bill says, then the picture does not seem to matter as much as the words matter.

About its "centrality" (if I may simplify), that's the core of the picture. Don't give it up, Franklin.



June 24, 2005, 6:22 AM

Download it, Flatboy. It may come in handy.



June 24, 2005, 7:14 AM

this painting isnt art its just a picture, a bad one at that. [It] reminds me of someone who has no idea how to really paint, so he turned to abstract work inorder to hide his inadequacies. i am a student of parsons school of design, and inorder to get accepted i had to go through several critiques and reviews. i am certain that if i as a freshman would have applied to the school with a piece like this i would have been rejected. so you as an adult "artist" should hold higher standards for yourself. i know it may be tough to muster up the guts to put yourself out there, but this sort of work isnt even worthy of an explanation this long.

your complaining about my incivility is quite boring.

Really, George, is "a pup, full of spit and vinegar, that's good" the best you could do? I'm surprised you could only muster such faint praise for such irresistible charm. I was left quite speechless myself, but I suppose you hard-boiled New York types are harder to disarm.

But it gets better:

works of substance, works that include pollitical agendas, social commentaries, and sardonic images poking fun at social morrays. creating works of substance (real art) is what moves people, what interests them and what reflects on society as a whole. not to digress, but going back to franks painting, it includes none of those themes, hence its just a picture.

Well, I'm mortified. Here I was thinking Cezanne was worth something, when it appears the poor man was just a foolish, effete fruit painter--not to mention all those quaint landscapes without any redeeming social commentary. I suppose people didn't know any better back then.

if i didnt think you were an idiot before your last comment i do now.

this site doesnt need another idiot so please stop.

I couldn't have said it much better myself.


Gigi Gabrielle

June 24, 2005, 8:59 AM

Doesn't quite work, but almost. Colors need greater strength and harmony. Great green by the arm. The portrait isn't convincing--we need more of a glopped on
expression to determine the human feel of the man.
But, it's pure painting, passionate and spontaneous, reminscient of Soutine
with the modern edge of an up-right Baselitz.




June 24, 2005, 1:35 PM

i don't see anything interesting, i wouldn't bother



June 24, 2005, 2:52 PM

Gigi, a lot of what you see in the middle register is glare. I use a gloss medium that makes photographing the work a real challenge, and that's what's washing out the colors. The solution is to see if they'll let me exchange my new camera for one with a threaded 35mm lens and put a polarizing filter on it. Thanks for your comments.

Thanks, Spunge, I'll be sure to stop painting because an anonymous commenter on my blog told me not to bother. (Oh, wait - the cats are telling me to keep at it. Never mind.)



June 24, 2005, 3:17 PM

Franklin, Some observations, more about evolution than changes.
I have some reservations about the structure of the background. It feels locked in by the horiz-vert framing. It suffocates the space. With the old hold up your hand in front of your face trick, just blocking off the lightish strip across the top (part of the window frame?) seems to open it up.



June 24, 2005, 3:34 PM

Centralized pictures suffocate space - true. Hudson River landscapes open it up - also true. Suffocated space is just as powerful as open space and vice versa. What the artist has to do is to do what the artist is doing ... with force and finality. This picture is certainly forceful, even if it is not final. Diminishing centrality just starts a different series. This one looks like it could generate many more in the same vein, with a promise of aesthetic profit. Why abandon it?



June 24, 2005, 4:30 PM

Franklin, put the cats on the keypad with the comment screen up and let them have at it, then post their efforts (which might well prove an improvement over some of what's been showing up lately).



June 24, 2005, 4:58 PM

Once again, good comment Flatboy. Centralizing "suffocates space" indeed. Students, when given freedom to compose, often do the "big X": something in each corner and the middle. I tell them not to, of course, but farther along I can just as easily tell them to try it. As you say, whatever works. Landscape suffers less because the center is usually going away into illusionistic depth.

Jules Olitski, influenced indirectly by Morris Louis, showed us how to empty out a picture 40 years ago. Now he is jamming it so full it is not only suffocated but drowned. Both methods produce great art. People should start start noticing, seems to me, but the dumbdown culture celebrates the clowns.



June 24, 2005, 5:46 PM

Well, that wasn't what I meant by suffocates the space. I certainly wouldn't use
this term with the later Olitiski's 1, 2, 3, 4, either. The surfaces are clotted up physically but the optical space...



June 24, 2005, 6:34 PM

Maybe we mean different things by "suffocate". I mean literally driving all the air out by flattening illusionistic space, filling the foreground, massing bright, opaque pigments on the surface, and the like. Franklin's picture does this to some extent by centrality, the border, the pasty, saturated paint, indistinctness of the painted areas and the consequent "filling up" of illusionistic space. Some of Olitskis picturews have an "outer space" kind of illusionism but most conform to this model also.



June 24, 2005, 8:06 PM

Oldpro, OK, I think we mean the same thing, "flattening illusionistic space". However, I don't see Olitski's paintings this way. True, I'm just looking at a reproduction but in spite of the clotted surfaces there are enough drawing and color clues to open the space up illusionistically.

I think illusion is central to painting. It functions on the most primal level using cognitive skills developed eons ago as a survival mechanism. I do believe that the viewer may not be able to establish the space and properly experience the illusion but if it is there it exists as a harmonic of ordering and is perceived subconsciously. In particular I think some of Picasso's cubists works are incredibly illusionistic but this fact escapes many viewers.

In the latter part of the twentieth century, painting was frequently deprecated and put to use as an illustrator of ideas or reduced to the most minimal analysis of its properties. Enough already. Part of the reason I bother with these discussions is a rhetorical attempt to push away the confining conceptual boundaries in order to reinvigorate the process with all its characteristics.
To a large extent I agree with many of your views. Where I differ would be with an artist like Neo Rauch, who you summarily dismiss but who I like. From my point of view, Neo Rauch reconnects with paintings history in a non reductive way. So from my point of view, I look at the work with an hopeful eye and a scrutiny of his deficiencies. I will rarely dismiss anther painters work, out of hand, unless it is really awful (clueless) almost always there is something to be learned even if it's just what not to do.

A final note on Franklins painting, it just occurred to me that every element but the "window" tags the edge. It closes the center off and I think this is what was bothering me.



June 24, 2005, 8:09 PM

i am not sure what your purpose was in posting this painting franklin. Is this an attempt to recieve criticism about it? Is it a lack of themes to converse about? I usually throw something in there (to discuss) as many of the "regulars" do, but usually do not get acknowledged. Maybe it is timing or anyslew of things. Point is, if a crit is what you are looking for then here you go.

First, i agree with the suggestion that what came from the posting is infinitely more valuable than the "thing" we are discussing.

It is a big mistake to post these paintings because i see the impresionist take where it really helps the painting to stand back and see it exactly as it would be in life, that is the distance and blur as a result of this distance make it feel more realistic and as you approach it and what you thought was a sharp line really is a jagged curve. This is a pretty little magic thing they discovered about light and perception a while back, one of my favorite things actually (giacomettis take on this is beautiful). So i like to see this, but in the way i like magic. It is one of those "special effects" recently refered to. But what is the purpose? This that i have outlined or is there something else? I mean is your mission to inspire an aesthetic experience in the viewer? And in this case, what is an aesthetic experience to you?(taking into consideration my initial agreement of value of the experience versus the thing)

So i also add that i am glad you did post it because, well, because, um, i dont know why. I guess that just providing this opportunity is reason enough.

Lastly-how can it be a case for art to be a painter? In other words, painters work for painting, artists work for art. just semantics but these things work on so many levels of consciouness it is important to keep them conscious.



June 24, 2005, 10:22 PM

Illusionistic space is an ingredient of painting just as color is, George, but the degree of illusionism is open to judgement when viewed in a painting. Some recent Olitskis have that "planetary" quality of colored orbs in space which is very illusionistic. Others (and I should have referred to them more specifically) are flat as a pancake, or perhaps pancakes; they look like and often are just puddles of paint. I think the examples you posted are more or less like this. You apparently don't. Because we seem to be talking about the same thing I assume it is just a difference of perception.

I don't know how anyone could deny the function of illusionistic space in Cubism. Of course the picture has been flattened and lacks deep space, but illusionistic play in the shallow space remaining is the "engine" of the painting. (BTW when referring in general to Cubism I always try to mention Braque. To use the "engine" analogy agan, Picasso was the engine, but Braque was at the wheel. Our prejudice is toward power, and Picasso usually takes the credit).

My problem with Rauch is not his use of illusionism. That would be silly. I just don't think his paintings are very good.



June 24, 2005, 11:17 PM

Franklin, I negelected to answer your Markart question.

The Bass's Hans Markart painting can be seen at:

Wait a minute for the page to load if your computer is as slow as mine. It is part of a wonderful, well designed site of nothing but ultra-academic painting by a guy who hates all things modern. A case of really working out one's prejudice.



June 24, 2005, 11:22 PM

Jake, I posted the painting because that's what I do. I'm really more of an artist who writes than a writer who paints. You're welcome to respond in any way you like, within the guidelines, or not at all. I'm not seeking a crit per se but I won't turn one down. Your thoughts are welcome, whatever form they take.

The magic trick you describe is a great trick, one that may separate us from animals. The fact that two dimensional representations automatically translate to three dimensional forms and our experiences with them is just amazing. The Impressionist innovation, delivering the abstract content and the figurative content at the same time, well, yowza. So I'm working with an aesthetic experience, and that should come through to the viewer. To what purpose? That is the purpose. I believe in art as art.

Regarding the painting/art distinction, I don't make it. As I mentioned above, I'd rather not make a case for some things being art and other things not being art; I'd rather accept anything presented as art as art, and then haggle over how good it is. I find that more useful. Painting does have its own terms, as all media do, and there are larger art questions that have to be addressed in the course of its use. But the problems aren't really separate, assuming you're trying to make art and not just change the color of the barn.



June 24, 2005, 11:31 PM

Oldpro, I've never seen that Makart at the Bass. It's like a poor man's Rubens, more or less. Makart was apparently the Austro-German version of Bouguereau, and a very big deal in his day. Now, of course, he's a footnote, if that.



June 24, 2005, 11:36 PM

I doubt they hang it, Jack. Someone probably gave it to them.



June 24, 2005, 11:36 PM

Hoo boy! That Markart is, um, really competent. You gotta admire that frontal view of the bow. At four feet high it must be a stunner in person. Sort of a German Pre-Raphaelite, in a way, with extra sugar.



June 25, 2005, 12:17 AM

By the way, it's Makart, not Markart. And no, Franklin, the Pre-Raphaelites are not a good analogy. Makart is too robust, "healthy" and matter-of-fact; he would have found those English artists rarefied, neurotic, even morbid. They would have found him crude and vulgar, a cheap peddler of overstuffed Teutonic nymphs.



June 25, 2005, 1:41 AM

Thanks for the correction, Jack. That's my fault.



June 25, 2005, 7:32 PM

It's interesting that Makart died at age 44. He was Austrian, trained in Germany, hit it big by his late 20s and dominated cultural life in Vienna for nearly a generation. Had a huge studio and favored huge paintings. Obviously talented technically, as was typical of successful academic artists, like Bouguereau and Meissonier in France. He is said to have influenced Klimt, who also favored decorative effects. Certainly of historical interest; I'm surprised the Bass people don't have his painting on show (it's not as if he's beneath the rest of their collection).


Bill Wilson

June 25, 2005, 7:53 PM

The figure in the painting, a self-portrait, is standing frontally and centrally. This position is similar to figures in some ancient portraiture, and in medieval European ikons, where a saint or other holy figure confronts the pious person who is using the ikon, not as a purposeless work of art, but as an intermediary between a person and a spiritual entity. The use of the ikon is not about or within a temporal narrative, an adventure in this world, because the entity (saint; angel), when depicted frontally in an ikon, is not within time, but is within eternity. The ikon is for mediations. That is, the ikon facilities mediation in the sense of the conveyance of messages between a person in earthly time, and a spiritual power within heavenly eternity. Ikons must be taken case-by-case, but a possible generalization is that the power of the spiritual figure has been constructed by a negation. Being negativized or self-negativized can qualify a person to gain the power of a saint to mediate between people and God in one of his Persons. Medieval God is known by the Ontological Proof of the Existence of God, visually apparent in paintings of holy figures in symmetrical and frontal poses. Then changes occur in sensibilities and methods of thinking, explicitly part of the theme of the novel, The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco. Francis (saint) helps to establish the Cosmological Proof of the Existence of God, wherein the design of the world proves a Designer of the world. While in 1200, Mary's head may have been at the center of an ikon, in 1500 her head may be dynamically off-center, as though moving within a dramatic or narrative scene. By the 15th century, European painting, which has been religious painting, not art for the sake of art, achieves a "pious naturalism." With that phrase I mean that the attention to the physical world of human narratives is attention to God's divine imagination, and so is both consistent with the love of God and proof of God's existence. For a few glorious centuries, to investigate this world of cause and effect is not an impiety, it is an appreciation of the Cosmos as a projection from the Divine Imagination. In that tradition, we reach Paul Cezanne, who at least in later years experienced the phenomenal world as a projection upon a screen, so that behind the screen might be everything (the Divine Imagination), or as with a movie theater, behind the images on the screen might be Nothing. When we see this portrait of a man confronting the viewer in an ikonic pose, we understand that his earthly story does not carry the meaning of his life. His story must acknowledge his spiritual adventures, with this question: Is he qualified by negations or self-negations to mediate between two full planes of existence, as a priest or shaman so mediates? Our story so far: in this painterly painting, this painter has used paint itself to negate himself as a personality. His self-negation surrenders "life" to painting by subtracting "life" from daily human life. Yet his very self-negation, his emptying of himself, may allow painting to fill and to fulfill him. His best hope if that self-effacement qualifies him to mediate between two full realms, perhaps between: 1) a narrative life of action and normal human misery always already at hand among immanent forces; and 2) the unreachable realm of painting, even unto Art, a plane that transcends physicality and materiality. Each of these planes or realms is in its own way both full and unreachable in any absolute way. Biological life, so undecidable and indeterminable, with its foundationlessness and pathlessness, escapes our grasp. Thus the painter, as a man, can attempt to forge a continuity with the transcending plane of aesthetic illusion. However, because aesthetic illusion is illusion and notmateriality, the aesthetic object exceeds our grasp, elusively indeterminable and foundationless. So this painter is, Yes, self-negating, subordinating his vital life to the art of painting. But in a self-affirming reversal, by negating himself with paint he may qualify himself to become our mediator between the life-of-life and the life-of-painting. We have always already heard about the suffering of the artist, as though suffering qualifies the painter to paint truth that is unavailable until earned by suffering. The painter Ralph Humphrey used to say, mocking the title of a biography of Michelangelo, "'The Agony and the Ecstasy'? It ought to be 'The Agony and the Agony'!" Look at self-portraits (Rembrandt; van Gogh), and you can read the legible negations of the artist, with the understanding that negation is a dimension of martydom, itself a method of becoming a saint or an artist. This self-portrait remembers ikonicity, but then it tries to forget that memory with informal patches of paint. I am trying to suggest two hypotheses: 1) the image has a refreshing lack of self-importance, like a nice guy reluctant to become sheriff, but somebody must sacrifice for the good of the community; and 2) the lack of self-importance shades into self-negation, which is painful, yet such self-negation may convolute to qualify a painter to perform trustworthy mediations between people and Art. He is negated, but subsumingly, because he is preserved in the negation of himself as it occurs within his self-picturing painting. In this self-portrait, the painter is nothing but a creature of paint. But his personality is negated by the very same paint that constructs his image as a personage, The Painter.


Bill Wilson

June 25, 2005, 8:40 PM

Here's a how-do-you-do! I hadn't read the title, so that an area designated as a case-ment window, I had taken visually as a painting of a landscape. So I withdraw my remarks, self-negatingly : Bill



June 25, 2005, 9:01 PM

Bill, I'm still impressed. How does the window change your interpretation?

Re: #88, did Cezanne really think about his work in the way you describe? My understanding was that he was trying to reintroduce structure into the Impressionist project, feeling discontent about its tendency to reduce everything to a screen of colors.


Jerome du Bois

June 25, 2005, 10:39 PM


I don't know Soutine from Saltine, my grasp of technique is quite limited, but I have some comments on this painting. I have read Mr. Wilson's comment, but not many of the previous ones.

To me, this self-portrait vibrates with grief, anger, and broken-hearted determination. Franklin's bare chest is like wrestled sheets; his forearms, swollen like Popeye's from swinging at a heavy bag at some world-fight-club, hang down heavy and weary, but still drifting up slightly toward the viewer, you know how they do when they throb with that pain, they rise against that gravity as if to escape it; the hands swollen so much the bloody fingers are scumbled stumps. An artist's hands! What a painful sight! Behind him the complicated, decimated (hurricanes, hurricanes) world, framed, with just a thin blue line of hope limning just part of its expanse. The face like a fist, smeared to the left, with a mashed nose as if the Devil jammed his thumb there. (We're sorry for your loss, Franklin. We were gone, in a way, or we would have said something back then.) The black cloud capping the head like a matador's cap askew. From where will the next attack come? And all I have is this canvas, and my heart, and my talent.

Notice, though, the left leg slightly stepping forward. This is the mark of the mensch. He should be at the center of the composition. It's called stepping up.

Your self-portraits have often made me cry. I'm glad they do.

Jerome du Bois



June 25, 2005, 10:41 PM

I'd like to have the matter of what Cezanne "thought" clarified too. A lot of what he said, like the "cylinders and cones "statememt, come second-hand from Emile Bernard, and may not mean what they are taken to mean. He is supposed to have said that he wanted to redo Poussin acdcording to nature, and make enduring art like that in the museums, and such like, but it is hard to know just what to make of that when applied to his art, and whether the ideas or the art came first. I have read on the subject but have never run across anything that settled the matter to my satisfaction.



June 25, 2005, 11:08 PM




June 25, 2005, 11:21 PM

What does that mean, George?



June 25, 2005, 11:22 PM

Rolling On The Floor Laughing Out Loud



June 25, 2005, 11:36 PM

Laughing at what?



June 26, 2005, 12:45 AM

Op, at the artspeak.

You said re Olitski, I went several times, and I noticed that the people there were very puzzled; they seemed to realize that they were seeing something pretty heavy-duty but did noit know what to make of it. I think many of them had never before been in the presence of very good new art (or maybe very good art of any age outside of books) and that the experience was too strange for them to cope with. The apparent reaction, up and down the line, was to simply turn away and avoid it.

To correct this, the viewers need to be helped along, this is part of the job of critical writing. The problem with much critical writing is that it has become a game of obfewskateshun, which makes me laugh.



June 26, 2005, 1:02 AM

I am still puzzled, George. Were you referring to what I wrote, or some unidentified artspeak?

I think the problem is a lot broader than a lack of critical writiing. it is more a matter of what Jack says on the following page:

",,, many people may have seen so much inferior work in so many venues for so long that they can't assimilate something significantly better. It's as if their receptors, if you will, have either atrophied or deteriorated, and are no longer able to process heavy-duty input. Hence, such input is treated as a kind of unreadable or non-sense data"



June 26, 2005, 1:15 AM

Op, no not you, that was a queuing coincidence. It started with the casement window turning into a painting and went on from there.

I don't agree with Jack. I don't believe the viewing audience can't assimilate something significantly better, not by a long shot. The viewing audience goes along with what it's fed. What determines the menu? money.



June 26, 2005, 1:19 AM

Nevertheless, that is the only way i can make sense of the Olitski show experience.



June 26, 2005, 1:48 AM

Op, Honestly, I think this is a marketing problem. From a business standpoint there is potentially a bundle to be made speculating in Olitski's paintings. I am actually surprised that it hasn't happened yet. If there is money behind the art, reviews get written... prices go up, everyone gets excited, more reviews get written and then the public goes ou-ah...

I know this sounds crass, but this morning I looked at over 1000 pictures in the most recent auction results, good marketing gets higher prices. This "Untitled abstract painting, in "tempra on paper" no less, by an artist described as Congo the Chimp sold for 14,400 BP (26,181 US$). On a dollar per square inch basis ($107) it was about 4% less than the Hans Hofmann ($112) preceeding it in the catalog. Proving once again that the much maligned Hans Hofmann paints better than a monkey.



June 26, 2005, 2:38 AM

Marketing only goes so far, George. The resistance to Jule's paintings is pervasive and real. He has been on the big time scene for 40 years, good gallerys, lots of articles, the whole thing. Greenberg's backing became a distinct negative in the last 20 years oir so, but that does not fully account for the Miami experience or the fact that the most trivial doodads by 28-year-olds at Sotheby's bring more at auction than excellent Olitskis are priced at retail. No, it is resistance, nothing else. I can't put my finger on it, but it is resistance. Olitski does not fit into the mainstream.

I noticed that Chimp painting. I have a painting by "Pablo the Chimp". Painted about 30/40 years ago. Used to be a standard joke present for an abstract painter. I wonder what that would bring?



June 26, 2005, 2:50 AM

The chimp painting made news when I Googled it. I just found it running through the ArtNet auction results thumbnails which made it very funny for me.

The resistance to Jule's paintings is pervasive and real. Must be. I suspect there is some sort of "whisper crit" lurking about. As you note he has a good track record but the last 20 years were not very friendly to retinal art. However, the times are a changing, so I still suspect there's a ten bagger lurking there, we'll see.



June 26, 2005, 4:22 AM

Yes, "whisper crit" is good. I think his pictures are market winners in the long run, too, but this have been a long run for the best art, longer than it was for the Impressionists, for example. Of course by the time Monet was 80 he was completely out of fashion, even if "officially' celebrated, and I remember how Matisse was derided as "decorative" in his old age.

You're onto something with "retinal"; purely "retinal" art seems to persist in the long haul, but only after swimming upstream against the "meaningful", and suffering many ups and downs.



June 26, 2005, 4:33 AM

op, you painting?



June 26, 2005, 4:50 AM

No, major screwups with building code violations, all kinds of bullshit. I had to move everything out of the studio and store it.. very frustrating.



June 26, 2005, 4:54 AM

Oh, sounds like a setup for a major breakthrough...


Bill Wilson

June 26, 2005, 7:53 AM

I have already made mistakes--l looked at a painting on a screen, which destroys the relation between paint as material and the aesthetic illusion (even if only the illusion of wholeness); I didn't read the title, so I thought that the pictured window was a landscape painting. One meaning of a painting is its effect on a wall, and thus on the meanings of that wall, so I am riffing without that information. Well, confusions between a window and a painting have occurred for centuries, often with constructive results. In Maryland, North of Towson, in gardens devised for the entertainment of Harvey Ladew, a small stone building has a fireplace. Above the mantle of the fireplace is a folly in the form of a picture-frame around a window, indeed a picture window, since under the window is a gold label with a title for the scene seen through the window, as though seeing a painting. The title of the picture is: "The Four Seasons." For one painting to depict four seasons would take the painting into time, into successive seasons, so that the joke of the "painting" is an implicit criticism of painting as inadequate to the representation of temporal change (see Futurism and Nude Descending a Staircase). The folly, wherein one thinks that one is seeing one thing, while actually seeing something else, is that a painting is not like a window. Looking at a scene through a window, one does not see the surface of glass, but focuses variably on several different planes, according to the depth of the landscape. One can even look into the potentially infinite sky. In contrast, when looking at a painting, one focuses on a single plane, regardless of the illusory depths of the painted scene. The eye-mind feels the differences between a constant focal plane and shifts among focal planes: that's where meaning starts its work. One of the themes of Modernism has been flatness, where, because the canvas is flat, and because the viewer focuses at a single depth toward the flat canvas, the images were flattened to parallel the material plane. Thus objects might spread horizontally, rather than illusionistically recede into a deep fictional "space." Anyone washing the glass of a window, or scratching a window with a diamond, will call attention to the surface qua surface. Sitting in a window-seat to touch the glass of the window has the effect of distancing the deep outside world, and wrapping the security of the interior around the person. Would a pair of lovers look through the window toward the perplexing recessions of space, or would they fog the glass in order to draw a heart and inscribe initials? Later a bewildered lover might look through that heart-of-glass to focus down the lane toward a lover arriving, or departing. The paths in the Barbizon School tend to lead deep into the landscape, while the paths of Impressionists, and after, tend not to lead far away from the foreground. Postmodernism offers a variety of pathlessnesses. Hello Sigmar Polke, and undecidabilities: "Painted over in clear varnish, the cloth becomes stiff and translucent. The stretcher on the back becomes visible from the front, thus forming part of the pictorial expression itself. Resin and chemical fluids with various dominating colour content -- constructive, space-creating blue, dynamic whirling red and an alienated, almost deprecatory white-beige -- are applied to the back and show through to the front, resulting in an image that itself hovers in the middle between front and back. It creates uncertainty in the viewer as the image functions as a plane, mirror and window..." Thus saith the Internet. Long ago, Alberti offered a metaphor of the painting as a window onto the world; but the focal plane when looking not at the glass, but through a window, differs radically from the focal plane when looking at a painting that one can't see through (paintings on translucent materials bear witness to these themes). The fecundity of the misleading image of a window-painting has yielded The Large Glass, Marcel Duchamp. Instead of an opaque painting as a window opening onto the world, The Large Glass is indeed glass, not a painting, so that the viewer sees not "about" the world, but sees the transparent object, while, with a shift of focus, also sees through it into the world. A spectator becomes a participant, variably focusing on the surface of the glass that is inscribed with Duchamp's calculated and determinate designations, or focusing through the glass onto circumambient colors and human figures that are seen on the other side of the glass. The viewer looks through a kind of "picture-window" toward the indeterminacies and accidents that might be seen through any window. Later, the surface of a painting itself can become a field of continuing accidents authorized by the painter, but that's a different story, begun by Juan Gris with a piece of mirror (1912), and extended by Robert Rauschenberg with a clock. To elaborate upon the image of window, Duchamp had a window opened into the wall of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, constructing a view from his section of the Museum toward a sculpture by Maria Martins. As caught in the Net: "...once Bride Stripped Bare was placed into the Philadelphia Museum in 1954, it was situated in the middle of the gallery so that a viewer could look through the glider portion of the bachelor machine and through a window Duchamp had requested to have been cut especially for the installation, into a courtyard where a sculpture by Martins was situated." To look nearby, then to look toward a sculpture at a distance, entails a change in visual focus that can correlate with changes in mental focus (as in the stretch to reach from the work of Martins toward the work of Duchamp). Duchamp was interested in vision as such, and in its interrelations with the passage of time, as with a title that instructs a spectator thus: "To be looked at, close-to, for almost an hour" (1918). The gaze at a conventional painting, with a single focal plane, seems not to have been mobile enough for Duchamp (January, 1968, I was seated where I could see both Duchamp and paintings by Henri Matisse, while he faced away from them toward Alison Knowles, who shuffled a kind of deck of silk-screen proofs so that one saw a red or a blue as though descending a staircase [a photograph catches those pages set in motion]). Duchamp painted images of figures set in motion, but later he wanted to set in motion the images themselves, as with people seen moving on the other side of The Large Glass.

Even after Duchamp's twists on paintings as windows, one of the great themes in painting has been the representation of a window. A painting of a window cannot but be an elaboration, positive or negative, of the simile that a painting is like a window, or if it be metaphor, of the metaphor that a painting is a window. The late Ralph Humphrey gradually shaped paintings on the model of windows, and later he depicted actual windows, with curtains. Charlotte Moorman smashed a window as sound and sight in a performance of a composition by John Cage. Next to windows, actual, or suggestively metaphorical, are mirrors, as with Hamlet's instructions to actors "to/ hold as twere the mirror up to nature." See Robert Smithson for mirrors in Yucatan.

When I was looking at an image of this painting on this screen, imagining that the rectangle behind the painter was a painting, I guessed that he was enclosed in a room, yet alleviating the enclosure with paintings (Matisse and Bonnard hung each other's paintings as emancipations from their self-enclosures). That the painter stands in front of a window, facing away from the window, with deep space behind him that has been flattened to the surface of a painting, is a different philosophic stance from facing and looking through a window toward a spacious landshape. So thus far I haven't said much about this self-portrait, and the depletions of that image on this screen so falsify implications that I don't expect to have more to suggest. Bill Wilson


Bill Wilson

June 26, 2005, 8:04 AM

"Re: #88, did Cezanne really think about his work in the way you describe? My understanding was that he was trying to reintroduce structure into the Impressionist project, feeling discontent about its tendency to reduce everything to a screen of colors."

I have flu upon flu, so will respond later, with evidence that Cezanne was a philosophico-religious painter, at least on one of his planes. As he said in later years, "Mass and the shower-bath are what keep me going." That "screen of colors": what is behind it, the Wizard of Oz? Nothing? God? P.C. thought sometimes that he knew. To explain what he knew, and his ambivalences, I'll need to describe what kind of knowledge an aesthetic illusion is, & for that I need to be able to breathe: Bill



June 27, 2005, 4:59 PM

what i have gathered from your direct response:

writer not a painter

guidelines-check them and apply them (especially the address the witting not the writer and the one about make "sense")

art is art-art is technique
if you mean creativity.....

Finally, dont do what you dont want to do





June 28, 2005, 12:58 AM

honestly, this composition sucks...ploping a figure in the center of an area is boring... nice try though. hope you were drunk, at least that way you have an excuse



June 28, 2005, 1:36 AM

Yeah... that never works...



June 28, 2005, 1:39 AM

"ploping" a figure in the enter of an area is the compositional framework of all kinds of great art, wow. Go take a look at art history.



June 28, 2005, 1:40 AM

you were a mile ahead of me on that one, Einspruch. Very funny!



June 28, 2005, 1:52 AM

that doesnt make it interesting old pro...."plopping" a figure in the middle of anything historical or otherwise does not justify its being boring.



June 28, 2005, 1:54 AM

Franklin, you needn't have. It's like shooting fish in a barrel, and we're not even talking fish worth such trouble. Some things shoot themselves.



June 28, 2005, 1:55 AM

and your no da vinci, your not even his brush cleaner


double wow

June 28, 2005, 1:58 AM

and putting the figure off center would make it more interesting how?


tripple wow

June 28, 2005, 2:05 AM

it would at least give us a brouder perspecive, and give us a more realistic view of this unrealistic interpretation



June 28, 2005, 2:17 AM

I reserve the right to delete posts that undermine my efforts to make this a clean, inviting intellectual commons.

I doubt anyone is confused about this except Wow, but the da Vinci link was purely a response to ploping a figure in the center of an area is boring. Which, sometimes is true, and sometimes is not. As for the rest, don't junk up my boards with vitriolic nonsense.



June 28, 2005, 2:30 AM

ha ha



June 28, 2005, 2:59 AM

delete away my man, this painting leaves alot to be desired. i wouldnt be so hard if you were'nt on superior work.



June 28, 2005, 3:05 AM

This is fun, wow. What exactly does "a brouder perspecive, and give us a more realistic view of this unrealistic interpretation" mean?

You can start with "broader perspective". I've hear the phjrase a lot, but never could quite figure out what it meant.Looking from side to side, maybe?

Then please go to the "realistic view of the unrealistic interpretation".

Good luck.


Bill Wilson

June 28, 2005, 3:07 AM

"Boring" is not a conclusion, it is a symptom that needs to be analysed and reduced to its causes. "Boring" camouflages feelings and/or thoughts that conceal themselves as boredom. As we have learned from deconstruction, that which conceals, reveals something else, and that which reveals, conceals something else. So the person who claims to be bored has an obligation to search for and to define whatever conceals itself as boredom. The "center," as in a figure centered in a composition, is a position that is a meaning, and as a meaning it combines with other meanings. In this painting, trusting that the computer has cropped it fairly, the center of the rectangle seems to be located about where the human heart is imagined to be. That center of the painting, insofar as the center is a human heart, is in front of a landscape. The implication is that the painter is an emanation of the landscape, that his heart emerges from the earth. He is the cultured foreground of the natural background. The claim of a person to be continuous with forces of nature, even while standing in a human-made interior, is an ideology. As Jackson Pollock said, "I am nature," and any painting can be questioned to see if and how the painter, and/or the painter, claim to be elaborations of total nature in the background. I figure that this attack on the painter is as ill-aimed as the confession of boredom. I think that the attack is aimed at the proud claim of a person to be continuous with forces of nature, while being as cultured as a painter. If I see correctly, the painter who, while sheltered in culture nevertheless bodies forth nature, wears no shirt. The implication of the centering of this shirtless painter is that his heart is governed by nature, and that nature is governed by something like a heart. The philosophy and/or religion at first is something like a pantheism, a plane of immanences, not transcendences. However, the immanences do half-heartedly submit to a transcending rectangularity: the edges of the canvas. So sure, the heart of the painter and the heart of nature are answerable to transcendental forms that have, for as long as the history of art, themselves been answerable to the asymmetrical hearts of humans and non-rectangularities of visible nature. Whatever the purposes of this rancid message, the question becomes, what constructive purposes can it be made to serve? Bill Wilson



June 28, 2005, 3:11 AM

Really, criticism that juvenile is its own kind of endorsement.

I've really come to enjoy Bill's contributions to this blog. How're you feeling, Bill?



June 28, 2005, 5:07 AM

wow, you did delete everything i wrote , lol, wow, oh wow, it was true that why you deleted it,, thats funny, like i was saying, this painting is boring because it expresses no emotion and leaves nothing for the viewer to relate to...theres more but i dont want to be deleted, after all we are talking about the pontificus' mediocre painting



June 28, 2005, 5:09 AM

by the way old pro i explained myself, however your boyfriend didnt agree so...



June 28, 2005, 5:11 AM

Note to Wow, who just got a few posts deleted: Listen, you're welcome to dislike my work, and if you have any grounds for it, I'd be interested in hearing why. But if you tell Oldpro to fuck himself, it's going to piss me off. If you call me a fag as if there were some kind of problem with that, on behalf of the homosexuals among my family, friends, and colleagues, you can go cram that bigoted, homophobic remark in your colon. You want to call me a coward for deleting your posts, I'll make you a deal - look me up in the phone book, come on to my property, and tell it to my face. Because my name is out there, and you're just an anonymous twit.



June 28, 2005, 5:11 AM

and bill, its boring, thats all its boring, leaves nothing to the imagination , boring , ha ha...all the fancy talk in the world cant save it, boring as hell



June 28, 2005, 5:19 AM

Oh, looks like I crossposted over more homophobia. I am honored that you find my work so unsatisfactory.



June 28, 2005, 5:19 AM

thats funny buddy, blah blah, we can look each other up and blah blah, you are a coward, and by fag i dont mean homosexual , so calm your pantys down..this particular painting sucks for many reasons most of which i wont talk about cause you might delete me again, i wont talk abouth the palette because of the internet discrepencies...i will say the composition is , how you like to say "juvinille" and the execusion is like what ive seen alot of like high school and or the internet a million times before, you fruitcakes should settle down and stop takeing things so seriously. after all you are a critic arent you? you should be able to take what you dish.


Bill Wilson

June 28, 2005, 5:25 AM

If we look at WOW and Franklin as two different people, perhaps painters; and if a painting is a demonstration of a life-world; then we can allow that WOW's world-design is to him as Franklin's world-poem is to him (in their paintings). If WOW is aware of his world and confident within it, he might nevertheless be encouraged to become curious about the structure and themes of a different world, as a kind of check of his reality. Does one look at art as in looking into a mirror? Or does one become sufficiently elastic, mentally and emotionally, to enter sympathetically and imaginatively into a different world, however much tentatively and hypothetically, and then to resume one's familiar world, but perhaps enhanced by the foray into a different world? (I never come back from Rembrandt's self-portraits quite the same person, having compared his honesty with my indirections.) The instruction, "... open the figures surroundings, let me see where they live," may be good advice for WOW, but it could distort the "world" of Franklin, whose only obligation is to convey an image of his values, ethical and aesthetic, as sincerely as possible. Franklin cannot paint WOW's paintings, or commit himself to WOW's world, because an artist works in behalf of a reality within which he can feel himself to be an authentic person. What is the point of looking only at oneself in one's own world? As Robert Frost writes of the huge buck:

It would cry out on life, that what it wants
Is not its own love back, in copy-speech,
But counter-love, original response.

Philip Larkin understands a person as a few governing themes that become that person's reality:

And once you have walked the length of your mind, what
You command is clear as a lading-list.
Anything else must not, for you, be thought
To exist.

I would hesitate to ask someone to do as I do, for I might miss the images of other lives that show me something better to do: Bill Wilson

(I am diagnosed by my doctor as suffering from a "summer something." Thanks for asking.)



June 28, 2005, 5:32 AM

i agree, that is why its funny to hear franklin talk about painting he could never make or relate rather a plummer talk about my work.... at least i would be un biased and honest.



June 28, 2005, 5:35 AM

at least HE would....


wow man

June 28, 2005, 5:42 AM

"You're not forced to agree with me, and I'm not forced to leave your comments up on my blog. Disagreement is fine. Being boring is not. Ask not what the guidelines can do for you, but what you can do for the guidelines."

HA HA HA, now your guilty of being BORING, what are you going to do , macho man... really my macho man this painting is really bad, im not even talking about the abstraction, the palette, compositon, and subjectmatter is crap... maybe i missed it , is there a tittle?



June 28, 2005, 5:43 AM

Wrong, Wow, we can't look each other up - you can look me up, but I can't look you up. I sign my name to my opinions and encounter the people I talk about in the flesh, and deal with it. Here we go with the coward thing again - you want to say it to my face, you know where to find me.

i'd rather a plummer talk about my work... You make work... Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb here - are you William Bucknell?



June 28, 2005, 5:47 AM

no dude, im not, i wouldnt go out and find you, thats fucking wrong, this is an open forum, not a cock fight , so calm yourself down macho man.



June 28, 2005, 5:50 AM

who the fuck is William Bucknell?



June 28, 2005, 5:51 AM

William Bucknell was born on April 1, 1811, at Marcus Hook, in Delaware County in Pennsylvania. At the age of sixteen he went to Philadelphia where he learned the wood carving trade. He later became a prosperous real estate dealer and agent. In his middle age he was a promoter of gas and water utilities in various cities. He was a Baptist who tithed to various charities. Mr. Bucknell was one of the original trustees named in the charter establishing the University at Lewisburg, which was signed by the Governor of Pennsylvania on February 5, 1846. He subscribed $5,000.00 to the fun d to establish the University, and he was a member of the Trustee Committee which appointed the first President of the University, Howard Malcolm.
In 1856, John P. Crozer, who was a trustee of the university as well as the father of William Bucknell's second wife, proposed that he would donate $50,000.00 to the university if it were moved to Chester in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Mr. Bucknell was one of the four trustees who voted, unsuccessfully, to "remove" the University from Lewisburg. After the vote, both Bucknell and Crozer withdrew from the building committee, which was in the process of raising funds to pay for the university building. In March, 1863, Bucknell resigned from the Board of Trustees; Crozer resigned three months later. Both men withdrew all support from the institution.

In 1881, at a time of financial crisis for the University, President David Jayne Hill approached William Bucknell for a renewal of financial support. At Hill's urging, Bucknell signed a pledge to give $50,000.00 to the University if certain conditions were met, including the reorganization of the governance of the University and the raising of additional capital. This action saved the institution from extinction. Between 1882, when he rejoined the Board of Trustees and his death in 1890 on March 5, Mr. Bucknell provided most of the money for the support of the university and for improving facilities: purchasing books for both the College and Institute libraries; endowing twenty scholarships for men in the C ollege; endowing prizes for women in the Institute; gifting to the endowment fund; and gifting for the improvement of existing buildings and the erection of new ones. In 1889, Bucknell attended his last commencement; at the time of his death in 1890, he had given Bucknell University more than $268, 000.00.



June 28, 2005, 5:52 AM

Never mind.

It's not an open forum. It's a moderated forum. Don't come back.



June 28, 2005, 6:04 AM

This exchange is surrealistic.

A "plummer", wow? Is that someone who picks plums?

Don't let him get to you, Franklin. He's bad news.



June 28, 2005, 6:27 AM

He's worse than bad news, Oldpro - he's the argument for comments registration.



June 28, 2005, 6:31 AM

I still don't believe in registration.

This one is pretty bad but they usually go away quickly.



June 28, 2005, 6:34 AM

This one's being a pest. I've deleted something like ten posts in the last fifteen minutes. I may shut down comments just so I can go to bed.



June 28, 2005, 6:34 AM

Okay, comments are down. I don't feel inclined to fend off this dimwit all night. He's referred to me as Castro, called me a coward again, repeatedly, and so on, and is otherwise not providing a positive reading experience. Wow, if you still don't understand why this happened, pop me an e-mail and I'll explain it to you.



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