The Medium is Sensitive

DSCF2449Painting has come to be not about illustrating a world but about enticing forces inherent in the thing by elaborating the pictorial consequences of its own reality.

With abstract geology in painting the work becomes a vision of casuality. As to what it might be that underlines the painting is the inquiry of the painter, towards which the painting could become itself: the something grasped and the something grasping is simultaneous movement.

We used to convince ourselves that aesthetics was about beauty in a human sensorium but beauty is everywhere. It is distributed in all objects. It is a processional beauty. The totality consists of the impacts of matter as emergent actors, crystallizers of beauty.

150910-spherical-mosaicIt is no longer a matter of a ‘second reality1 of the thing rooted in the concern for possessing the world, but a potent distillation of material agencies into occasions embodying us with non-objective emanations. The non-objective is not subscribed by representational forms into the concrete harmony of a thing, which would be an engineering of vision; instead the non-objective subtly emerges from a material reality charged with the actuality of its own sedimentary embodiment.

IMG_9825My Sediment and Erosion paintings are not representational in character. They are not ‘arranged’: how they emerge is how they are getting themselves done. Through a direct emphasis on the material of the thing, as a thing which has its own reality and immanence through its own pictorial consequences, the method and the presentation become isomorphic. The paintings have the quality of being and form in one. They are simultaneously things as they appear to us and the things that they are in themselves. Such ‘geological’ painting is abstraction because its meaning is revealed off the canvas, the surface of the picture: the background of the medium is radiant with its own matter-of-fact. What occurs on the surface of the picture is painting’s truth as self-affectuation, its ‘unconscious-striving.’

The painter begins to recede from controlling forms in order that images may emanate themselves: painting has its own agency. There is a constant exchange of energy between the painter and the painting, but what is the beauty of the painting is an agency unto itself. The medium itself is sensitive. A geology of forms is arranged into sensitively composed fossils. What appears upon the surface is the tendency of matter’s becoming beautiful and this beauty has no recourse to our formal values.

Painting isn’t a formula, mere ‘do this then do that’, or a retched design. Painting doesn’t come off of a factory floor. If as a painter I have mistrusted language to give adequate expression to feelings, then this also includes the language we have shaped through painting. The medium itself can go ahead and get to work without me and when it does it is outside our plastic languages. What occurs on the surface of the painting is a fossil of larger processes as a kind of concertized composite of becoming. Painting is the ubiquity of geomorphism condensed down into a singular entity – a sensitive thing-in-itself.

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[1] ‘Second reality’ is a term tossed around in order to describe the representational images of the human imagination whether related to the images stored in the unconscious, or existing in visible objects, which places the work in the context of dreams or in the free play of fantasy. I add to this category even the paintings as austere geometric abstractions. In terms of a frontier in painting as an elementary image, this ‘second reality’ became a counter-reality standing in opposition to nature. Its point was to convey aesthetic harmony as fundamentally different from natural harmony and that design and form in themselves, created in the imaginary of the artist, can transform the work into formal relationships and rhythms on the surface. The problem with this paradigm is that while seeking a correspondence to nature, the specific ‘peinture abstraite reelle’  encountered the strangeness of objects but rather than indicating this in-itself it sought to articulate arrangements through analysis and extreme reductions. In counter-distinction to this notion of painting as ‘second reality,’ it is only when painting sinks back down into the primordial emergent tendency of geology that it fully becomes itself. Through this conduit painting is not a ‘second reality’ but is instead absolutely pre-cognitive, sharing
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