Artist’s Journal: NUMBER 44

“What am I in most people’s eyes?

A nonentity or an eccentric

and disagreeable man…

I should want my work to show what is

in the heart of such an eccentric,

of such a nobody.”

Vincent van Gogh 1853 – 1890

Any artist who wakes up each day without doubts is either a very lucky individual or a misdirected fool.  And, if ignorance is indeed bliss – so be it for some!

I have been trolling the recesses of my mind pondering my art – myself and the whole enchilada that goes with being in the arts.  A couple of things have happened to enlighten and clarify those things that bewilder and pester me.  During my last opening I bumped into three concepts or insights.

One, is about the lack of what I’m trying to say and is better explained here.  The other, is about the weird feeling that I may be channeling something and, hopefully is explained here.  The other, the crossword concept, I’m still messing with.

Ah, serendipity.  The review of my last show, written by Don Wilkinson the Art Beat columnist for the New Bedford Standard-Times, also shed some light.  The italicized text are my comments.

Down the hill, at the Colo Colo Gallery, Ron Fortier’s one-man show, “Fado-Fatum,” is a testament to the marriage of chaos and order. Fortier’s works, which employ graphite, charcoal, pastel and cellophane tape, are small, tightly rendered boxes, squares or rectangles that (almost) fully contain the scribbling of a lunatic, or the calligraphy of an alien.

DRAWING 8C - 2012
DRAWING 8C – 2012

The “scribbling of a lunatic” is oddly, enough – spot on.  The series of drawings Don refers to as represented by DRAWING 8C – 2012, were created while I was either ecstatic or enraged about something.  A “technique” that is a hangover to the very beginning of my visual journey in college.  

As for the “calligraphy of an alien,” it’s another direct hit.  Yes, it’s stream of consciousness.  As to what is in that stream, I have no idea. 

An example of those drawings is represented here by DRAWING 5B – 2012.  As with the insane scribbling, I’m really just trying to solve visual riddles that haven’t really manifested themselves to me. 

DRAWING 5B - 2012
DRAWING 5B – 2012

So how will I know if I’ve solved them?  Einstein said something about doing the same thing over and over while hoping for a different outcome.  Yeah, it is kind of insane.

Some of the drawings take on the appearance of sheet music, with notes and G clefs twisted into nonsense characters, Xs, figure eights, commas, and kindergarten shapes.

Others are landscape-like, as thunder clouds, tornado funnels, driving rain, and the symbols of a mad meteorologist come into play. Others resemble flags of make-believe nations.

Ah, the mad meteorologist!  I have been aware of, and have been made aware of, the violent storm-like impressions in similar works.  It has evolved a bit in this batch of work as evidenced by this example – DRAWING 5G – 2012.  The musical notes and G clefs that pop up here and there were a conscious effort that evolved from the commas.  They are what has lead me to the next level, which I’m just starting to evolve towards.

DRAWING 5G - 2012
DRAWING 5G – 2012

All of the work is presented without any real title, only series of numbers and letters, and nothing to suggest any connection to any other than the ephemeral. This is not to suggest that Fortier’s work is without restrain. He lets the chaos out but contains it within orderly borders and invites the viewer to climb the fence.

Yes, no titles.  I decided that they were only a distraction to the viewer.  I purposely deny the viewer who is looking for an answer to their “what am I looking at? question.  The chaos is let into the arena of each work.  And, although I never thought about it that way – thanks Don – I am inviting the viewer to “climb the fence” and splash around in my duck pond.

All of these things and Don’s excellent insight are defining my next step.  By the way, Don is also a friend but I don’t think he would have written his review any differently had he not known me.

I was startled by his insight and his erudite manner the first time I met him.  When he became the art reviewer/columnist for the Standard-Times and also for Artscope Magazine, I hoped he would eventually review my work because, regardless of what he wrote, I knew it would be honest and, hopefully reveal something about my work that would be helpful.

The great cartoonist, Jules Feiffer, said, “Artists can color the sky red because they know it’s blue. Those of us who aren’t artists [he obviously didn’t consider himself one – that’s crazy!]  must color things the way they really are or people might think we’re stupid.”

How sad!  I’d rather be an insane alien meteorologist any day.


Posted on: 04/02/2013, by :
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