31 March 2011

Michigan Central, detail
Oil on linen/panel, 2011, 7x5"
To a collector in Ann Arbor, MI
Today's oil painting is an urban landscape looking up at the massive Michigan Central train station in late evening light. The iconic building used to show the decline of Detroit by others. Still a great subject for Detroit artists.
Click on image for larger view.

1 comment:

borky said...

I'm a Scouser and an uncle of mine who only likes "proper" art - i.e., representational - likes to dismiss so-called abstract art.

I try to explain to him what all real artists know: ultimately there's no such thing as abstract or representational art - there's only regions or shapes of juxtaposed colour modified by external variations in light and shade.

If we'd spent all our life beneath the canopy of the jungle, at the back of Plato's Cave, or at the bottom of an enchanted well, and were suddenly exposed to the vast vista of the open sky at dawn, we wouldn't see clouds or the absence of clouds, stars or the absence of stars, because we wouldn't know what such things were: we'd see indescribable abstract luminosities and shadows expanding and contracting as they endlessly shifted across a strange, seemingly curved background consisting of almost indistinguishable horizontal bands of greater and great brightness, until suddenly a strange huge glowing disk began to emerge on the horizon, sending rays in all directions.

Similarly, if we came from a world or dimension devoid of the concept of architecture, and found ourselves in the middle of America or Britain, we wouldn't see buildings - we'd see strange, dully coloured highly symmetrical, often ill-matched rectangular forms, (themselves seemingly composed of smaller and smaller rectangular forms), standing against, and receding into, a strangely shifting luminous background, causing them to seemingly undergo a slow motion 'vortex' consisting of huge gradually rotating, perpetually shifting abstract overlays of often brilliant light and utter darkness.

Your paintings seem to me to inhabit the hinterland between the trained perceptions which make us stop looking as soon as we 'identify' something as merely a building or a cloud, and the moment when all cultural preconceptions momentarily abandon us and we suddenly realise how utterly strange the world really looks.

Instead of explaining all this to my uncle for the umpteenth time, next time I might just send him here - if I can finally get him to actually go on the internet!