November 28, 2011 § 3 Comments
From the website of NAGA Gallery:
The World is Flat (Until You Paint It)
November 12 – December 17, 2011
Gallery NAGA concludes 2011 with an exhibition of euphoric paintings by George Nick accompanied by a catalog with an essay by Philip Pearlstein.
George Nick: The World is Flat (Until You Paint It) runs from November 12 through December 17. A reception for the artist and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, November 11 from 6 to 8 pm.
This spring, summer, and fall, George Nick could be found painting on the sidewalk in Boston’s Back Bay. A passersby could stand in front of the easel and try to imagine just what it was that Nick was looking at. Where was he seeing these colors that were ending up on the canvas? How was he putting together strokes that we knew would inevitably make sense?
And then, George came up with the title for the show: The World is Flat (Until You Paint It). Suddenly, it became clear: Nick doesn’t look at subject matter the same way most of us would. He brings every life experience and all his years of painting experience to the easel.
In writing about his paintings, Nick expressed how he sees the world.
“We really see too much, so the mind has simplified our seeing. This knowledge is both personal and technical. We know a lot and we use that information unconsciously to make our way in the world. We have an immense amount of stored knowledge that involves personal history and technical knowledge capable of a high degree of analytical powers. In painting I try to find different ways to accomplish that.”
Each brushstroke laid on the canvas is the result of looking, then looking, then looking some more. And just when George thinks he has completed a particular area, the sun moves and it looks different. This doesn’t bother him because it’s not his intention to depict what “exists.” His paintings are, instead, recordings of a particular time and place that occurs for a moment, then changes as a result of shifting light. What we see in his paintings are lots of mini-recordings sharing a single canvas that our eyes are able to unify and make sense of.
Philip Pearlstein, in his essay for the catalog, writes that George’s “. . . exuberant brushwork doesn’t allow him to suggest nostalgia for the passing of time.” Pearlstein, a former teacher, long -time friend and confidante, has watched George battle and find his way to the top of a long list of American painters. Now, at age 84, George Nick has arrived.
Through December 11, a retrospective of Nick’s work will be on view at Rider University in Lawrenceville NJ in an exhibition titled, The Upside Down Wind.
November 12, 2011 § 1 Comment
“We must recover the sense that an artist’s training is a training in access to a boundless realm to which the visible is a frontier. And recover the sense that his responsibility as an artist is to bring back, as faithfully as he can, any intimations he may receive in his journeys over that frontier as his contribution to the enrichment of the country that has nurtured him and the times in which he lives.
We must recover the sense that the commitment to materials cannot be sidestepped. Inevitably we approach our subjects with thoughts and feelings; only training in grappling with materials in the presence of the subject makes it possible for thought and feeling to go away, enabling immaterial imagination to materialise, the artist to approach the unknown, and recognise the invisible companion who walks with him, called variously spirit, angel, muse.
This is the sense of vocation Bomberg believed in and which gave him his confidence that imagination transcends the mundane. His insights, and Blake’s, have been essential guides for me through the wilderness of subject and object. I have found Blake’s definitions illuminating and beautiful:
“All that we see is vision, by generated organs gone as soon as come, permanent in the imagination.”
“The nature of infinity is this; that everything has its own vortex…”
Blake has an unrivalled lucidity. It is literally true that whenever one approaches a subject with the respect for another, and not as a mere construct of the mind, it begins to take on this mysterious energy of vortex, which swings one, and flings one all over the place. The frenzy of the artist, notorious in ancient as well as modern times, is the outward evidence of his determination to touch at least the fringe of this whirlwind as it escapes. Only time will tell what sense he has brought back, but he has no doubt of the awe and power he has approached. The vortex is the passage of everything from its temporal to its eternal condition.
Drawing is the essential training of the artist for this encounter with the vortex. A training in ridding the mind of preconceptions, a training in attention to the pulse of expansion and contraction within the sensory field, a training which gradually co-ordinates, stimulates and accelerates perception to the point where hyper- perception can take place. Without this hyper-perception the vortex is invisible, as is our transit from embodiment to disembodiment where we encounter the invisible realm of imagination.
The materialist view that I am a substantial and continuous body rests on the limited evidence of normal perception. In fact I am here, and not here, but my transit from embodiment to disembodiment is so rapid that it escapes normal attention. But it is an important insight that has been observed and recorded by poets and artists and visionaries throughout history. And it is the basis and core of artistic responsibility.
The artist’s trained response to the tick-tock, tick-tock of the here and not here, enables him, within the medium of his work, not only to give expression to this rhythm, or beat, but to enrich his work with some of the unknown nourishment flowing unceasingly though these minute gaps which reveal eternity between the moments of our embodiment in time. Art must often interpret this material to normal sense, and the fleeting impressions of eternity in great art are in no way illusory. It is this positive affirmation, however tragic the subject, which nourishes us today, and inspires us tomorrow, in all the masterpieces of art.” -Miles Richmond, 1922-2008
November 10, 2011 § 1 Comment
“In the studio it was always a pleasure to confront him and his painting. He was a hard and intense worker. He was anxious for words from me and I would usually come up with some nonsense, which I would interrupt by saying “Look Henry – just keep painting.” But he usually had some questions and you could feel their extreme need for answers. There were never evasions, apologies or excuses as with some students.
I enjoyed my critiques with Henry. His work was always wet and difficult to handle, would have been through hell but would not be tortured. It would be rich and very solid and just faintly bruised and slightly bloodied – ineffaceable evidence of a desperate fight. Henry would respond. “What fight?”
Beyond this Henry’s painting had, and still has, instinctual understanding of that universal human activity in which colors are applied to the surface. Henry’s capacity to bring a work to a final state of open, nonintrospective resolution is impressive. There is no one whom I would feel better about describing as “a real painter”.” (From Henry Villierme.com)
November 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
“Putting together two or more parts into an order is a narrative. Often when starting a painting I have a specific sequence in mind, a self-righteous one with clearly identifiable assignations to the parts. Presuming that the baseline purpose of all critical activity is to unmake and/or complexify a preexisting order, mine is to both answer the urge to express my particular narrative, and to hope for its undoing.” –Hanneline Rogeberg
Contemporary Norwegian painter Hanneline Rogeberg grew up in the neighborhood of the Edvard Munch museum. In this lecture given at Boston University she discusses his impact on her work, and that of others, such as Temple Grandin, the autistic woman whose work with animals has led to greater understanding of the importance of physical touch in human development.