I begin a painting with a series of mistakes…For me the medium of oil painting resists, more strongly than others, content cut off from external relations. It continually threatens, because of its motility and subtlety, to complicate a work beyond the simplicity inherent in a high order of abstraction. I attribute my increasing devotion to oil, lately as against the constructionalism of collage, to a greater involvement in the human world. A shift in one’s human situation entails a shift in one’s technique and subject-matter.
Robert Motherwell, 1947, statement
A painter who addresses the public not just in order to present his works, but to reveal some of his ideas on the art of painting, exposes himself to several dangers.
Notes of a Painter (1908)
I am fully conscious that, not being a literary man, certain presumptuous persons will think that they may reasonably blame me; alleging that I am not a man of letters. Foolish folks! Do they not know that I might retort as Marius did to the Roman Patricians by saying: that they, who deck themselves out in the labours of others will not allow me my own. They will say that I, having no literary skill, cannot properly express that which I desire to treat of; but they do not know that my subjects are to be dealt with by experience rather than by words; and (experience) has been the mistress of those who wrote well. And so, as mistress, I will cite her in all cases.”
LEONARDO DA VINCI
The Literary Works of Leoiardo da Vinci
JEAN PAUL RICHTER, 2nd Ed. P1i6
Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write your self. Your body must be heard. — Hélène Cixous
Art is not about art. Art is about life…Art will continue, because…it is about the hurt of not being able to express yourself properly, to express your intimate relations, your unconscious, to trust the world enough to express yourself directly in it. It is about trying to be sane in this situation, of being tentatively and temporally sane by expressing yourself. All art comes from terrific failures and terrific needs that we have. It is about the difficulty of being a self because one is neglected. Art is a way of recognizing oneself…Without fear nothing in the world would ever be done. – Louise Bourgeios (p 167, 173…)
One of my favorite collectors collected white stones, each the size of a pebble and each representing a beautiful moment. These stones had a mysterious value to him and to no one else. Some people collect good luck charms like a penny on the street. Eery time they find one they get titallated.
Is the social worker collecting a collection of saved lives? What about the need to collect friends? What about diaries? My diaries are a form of collecting and they have no use to anybody but me.
The only saving grace of collecting is its transitional value…hopefully there is a transition from the world of the object to the world of ideas.
–Louise Bourgeios, Artforum, 1994, vol 32.
“Just do your work. And if the world needs your work it will come and get you. And if it doesn’t, do your work anyway. You can have fantasies about having control over the world, but I know I can barely control my kitchen sink. That is the grace I’m given. Because when one can control things, one is limited to one’s own vision.” — Kiki Smith
Joan Didion — “Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write.”
Resistance must always be articulated from within discourse. – Judith Butler
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