Art Quote for the Day

18 May 1985

The way I paint, one can’t really paint, because the basic prerequisite is lacking: the certainty of what is to be painted , i.e. the Theme.  Whether I mention the name of Raphael or of Newman, or lesser lights such as Rothko or Lichtenstein, or anyone else, down to the ultimate provincial artist – all of them have a theme that they pursue, a ‘picture’that they are always striving to attain.

When I paint an Abstract Picture ( the problem is very much the same in other cases), I neither know in advance what it is meant to look like nor, during the painting process, what I am aiming at and what to do about getting there.  Painting is consequently an almost blind, desperate effort, like that of a person abandoned, helpless, in totally incomprehensible surroundings – like that of a person wh possesses a given set of tools, materials and abilities and has the urgent desire to build something useful which is not allowed to be a house or a chair or anything else that has a name; who therefore hacks away in the vague hope that by working in a proper, professional way he will ultimately turn out something proper and meaningful.

So I am as blind as Nature,who acts as she can, in accordance with the conditions that hinder or help her.  Viewed in this light, anything is possible in my pictures; any form , added at will, changes the picture but does not make it wrong.  Anything goes; so why do I often spend weeks over adding one thing? What am I making that I  want? What picture of what?

30 May 1985

No ideology. No religion, no belief, no meaning, no imagination, no invention, no creativity, no hope – but painting like Nature, painting as change, becoming, emerging, being-there, thusness; without an aim , and just as right, logical,perfect and incomprehensible  ( as Mozart, Schoenberg, Velazquez, Bach, Raphael, etc.) We can identify the causes of a natural formation, up to a point; the same causes have led to me and , in due course, to my  paintings, whose immediate cause is my  inner state, my happiness, my pain, in all possible forms and intensities, until that cause no longer exists

The Daily Practice of Painting by Gerhard Richter


Art Quote of the Day

” Another dilemma that confronts many students occurs when they have been working on both abstract and representational pieces.  They are equally  interested in the two directions and at the same time feel they are suffering from a visual split personality.  Admittedly this is a problem, but not the hopeless one it might seem.  Contrary to what you might suppose, these two modes of expression are not irreconcilable opposites.  They simply allow for responses to different aspects of the same phenomena.  Artists working in a representational vein are concerned on some level that the subject of their visual experience be identifiable.  Nonobjective artists dwell  on components of visual experience in ways that do not necessarily add up to anything other than these components.  The important point is that they have a common base of departure.  Many  artists have commented on this frequently close relationship.  Charles Sheeler’s work is representational, but he wrote, ” I had come to feel that a picture could have incorporated in it the structural design implied in abstraction and be presented in a wholly realistic manner.”  Wayne Thiebaud said in connection with his painting that realism seemed ‘alternately the most magical alchemy on the one hand and on the other the most abstract intellectually.’  Overtly , Mark Rothko’s abstract paintings couldn’t look more different from Thiebaud’s, yet Rothko wrote, “I am not interested in relationships of color or form or anythign else… I am interested in only expressing the basic human emotions – tragedy, ecstasy, doom and so on….And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationships, then you miss the point.”  Richard Diebenkorn, who worked as both a representational and an abstract painter, made the conncetion this way: ” Abstract means literally to draw from or separate.  In this sense every artist is abstract….. a realistic or non-objective approach makes no difference.  the result is what counts.”

The Blank Canvas – Inviting the Muse by Anna Held Audette