March 6, 2014 by smithartonline
Bound Whales is my experiment using no black paint and focusing on a pastel palette. You will note the success of the experiment…I went back to using black. Without the strength of silhouetted forms in a black paint a visual punch just was not there. I am still enamored of the bold silhouetted form superimposed on a field of symbols.
There are some areas of the work I feel are successful, meeting my personal expectations. Other parts of the piece cause me to go “Ummm.” All is experimentation.
I am beginning to work out forms for a larger work, possibly a painting for the PSA Annual. Right now things are in flux, but I may continue with the whale forms on the larger round field, much like the Kitsune Wedding from last year’s exhibition in Pomona.
Hopefully, by the time I get to the larger more fleshed out painting, I will figure out how to make the “Ummm” parts into a whole that says “Wow.”
I have been reading David Whitley’s book Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit – The Origin of Creativity and Belief. The book is focused upon the earliest known artistic creations, with an especial focus upon the Chauvet cave art and rock paintings and petroglyphs fund in the South Western United States. He provides the perfect explanation of the use of symbol in early art. He is dealing with what we assume are sacred images created by a shamanistic society…the artist was early on the vehicle to bring a material form to religious ideas.
“Borrowing again from Native American, despite the potential inferential hazards in doing so, I recognize that in shamanistic cultures, paintings and engravings are material objects first and foremost, before they are signs and symbols. They exist not because someone placed them there, but simply because they are there as physical entities in their own right. In Native American eyes, they have a life and an agency of their own, with or without human involvement.”
David S. Whitley, Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit (New York: Prometheus Books, 2009): 178.