Monday, August 8, 2016

A Pond and A Big Change

Early this morning I went to the local pond (actually there are two ponds, and this is the smaller of the two), and painted for an hour.  The result is this 9x12 oil on panel.

In an unrelated topic, other than painting, I've been reading books by and about the painter Philip Guston.  I've always wondered about his change from abstraction to figurative work, and not just any figurative work, but cartoony, clumsy-like, mythic depictions of light bulbs, Klansmen, pyramids, shoes, one-eyed heads, and so on.  When Richard Diebenkorn switched from abstraction to figurative work, and then back again, the transitions were gradual and consistent.

Guston's changed content, though painted similarly to his abstract handling of paint, occupied the last ten years of his life.  Guston unfortunately died at the relatively young age of 67.  His abstract work seems angst driven, linked in my mind to the popular existentialist sensibility of the time.  However, he seems to have reached a point where abstraction was empty for him, but the angst was always there, and led him to rediscover what he really wanted to do as a painter.  His changeover wasn't well received.  But today he seems to be highly regarded for the change and the work of his last ten years.

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