Taking the next step, an artist’ journey later in life. Echo Park July 13, 2019

Good evening and thanks to everyone for being here and for sharing  your time to attend the opening night of ” Comings and Goings”. For me to  be here and be a part of this show has been an interesting journey. I had shown here once before in September 2015 as part of a  three person show titled “The Abstract Three” with the artists Ira Margolin and Joshua Elias.  I had just retired from my career in retail management for a San Francisco bay area art supply company and was excited to have more time to pursue my creative inclinations and the opportunity to exhibit my work. From a young age I have been involved with artistic pursuit. But other than my college years I hadn’t had the time to fully explore it. A close friend of mine, Stephanie Ellison, who was teaching Pilates here at the time introduced me to Tannis Kobrinsky, the owner of Pilates and Arts, and that is how the show four years ago came together. After the show, although I continued creating artworks, I slowed down a bit until about two years ago when again I started to spend considerably more time following my creative inspirations and creating artwork.

As my artworks began to accumulate, I wanted to find a venue to exhibit my works. In early March of this year I contacted Tannis again to see if she was still doing exhibits and if so, did she need any artists for her exhibits. Her reply  surprised me because she said that Ira Margolin, the artist I had shown with before, was currently having a show and that two days earlier my name had come up with Ira about the show four years earlier. As you might imagine I am a big believer in fate.

Thank you Tannis for inviting me to exhibit again. You are a wonderful creative bridge and an ardent supporter of artistic community. I would also like to thank Kim Stringfellow for the opportunity to show with her. Her artistic credentials, depth of knowledge and  creative expressions and insights are considerable.

For me, this show is a mixture of my earlier works and the newer pieces I have been working on, especially the abstract construction pieces.

As this show was being put together, in one of our communications Tannis asked if I would like to speak tonight. Kim would be giving a presentation and she thought that I might like to speak as well. My answer was that sure, if I had something to say. So one of my next communications was to Kim asking what I should talk about. She graciously replied that maybe we could each give an overview of what we are up to and then let the audience participate. Perfect.

As I mentioned earlier I have been involved in art from a young age. One of my earliest and lasting memories of art was when I was six or seven years old living in Ft. Lauderdale in the late 1950’s and one of mothers girlfriends who loved eating peanut butter from a spoon drew this simple optical illusion at the kitchen table. Is the box opening up and to the left or down and to the right.

I was in awe. I grabbed a pencil and piece of paper and repeatedly drew the image I had been shown, happy that I could create the illusion on my own. It was my one of my earliest experiences with abstraction. From there I would continue to discover other examples of optical illusion art, always amazed at their competing visual properties. As I grew older my creative interests began to included philosophy and abstract thinking.

One simple philosophical conundrum I came across during this time of growth  was also represented visually. It intrigued me. Two horses were in a pasture, one horse was inside a corral and the other horse outside of it. One of the horses says “don’t fence me in”. Which horse do you think it was?   

These two simple life experiences along with many others throughout my life have formed a creative framework for my artwork to this day. The union of art and philosophy in the abstract.  Incorporating the paradoxes and the duality of meaning in art and in life. Any experience that evokes duality of meaning and/or opposites might be incorporated.

In language, it could include double entendre, and homonyms – words that have the same spelling or that sound the same but have different meanings. Such as the word “bear”. Which might mean a bear in the woods, to bear a hardship, or bare skin. One of my paintings exhibited is titled “incite”  which when spelled incite could mean to provoke or if spelled insight might mean awareness. Or ultimately it may mean to provoke awareness. Another of my works exhibited here is titled “mind field“, instead of using mine  to mean explosive I use the spelling mind, the part of a person that makes them able to be aware of things. To think or feel. Feeling is integral part of art both in the creation and in the observation.

Examples from the visual arts would include chiaroscuro, the treatment of light and shade in drawing, the use of positive and negative space, as used in Japanese and other eastern painting techniques. object, foreground and background, and line and movement.

 In philosophy it could be the impact of the abstract expressions of Zen koans, which are paradoxical stories to be meditated upon that are used to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force the gaining of sudden intuitive enlightenment.  There is a story of two zen monks standing outside their monastery looking at a flagpole and arguing. The first monk says the flag is moving. The second monk insists the wind is moving. The head monk, who was listening in on the argument, comes outside and tells the two monks they are both wrong. It is the mind that is moving. Further inspirations include yin and yang, birth and death Exhalations, inhalations. meditation, peace in turmoil. Comings and goings.

Currently, one of my creative endeavors is attempting to express organized randomness or chaotic organization, which is represented in two of my drawings on exhibit “linear diversity” and “daily life”  

You may also notice there are a lot of  geometrical elements in my artwork, especially squares and circles or three dimensionally in boxes, grids and spheres. The square symbolizes the material world, the seasons, the four directions and the four elements of fire, water, air, earth. Stable and grounding.

The circle represents the notions of totality, wholeness, original perfection, the Self, the infinite, eternity, timelessness. Without beginning or ending. Ephemeral. In Zen art the enso circle is a circle that is drawn in one or two uninhibited strokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create.

My artwork has been greatly influenced by the abstract art of the 60’s and 70’s. which were experimental and breaking the rules of what art can be. In 1976 I  graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In 1979 I travelled to the island of Maui and spent 9 months studying Zen Buddhism with Roshi Robert Aitken.

As an abstract artist today I believe that art is the creation of images which communicate something important to the observer which cannot be expressed in words. The language of words is a closed set. There are a finite amount of words attempting to express an infinite amount of wisdom. There is an enormous amount of knowledge and enlightenment outside of words and ultimately outside of images as well. I choose to use abstraction in my artwork as I believe that this style has the greatest potential for me to share universal expressions of one’s inner self.

Thank you again for being here tonight and thank you for listening and I would like to also thank my beautiful girlfriend Kathleen for her love and support .

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