I wrote a blog last month about one of my upcoming shows in Provincetown at the Julie Heller Gallery on the 1 st of August titled, “Landing in Provincetown”. Well, it has turned into a bit of a bumpy landing.
The show has been cancelled due to some discord among some of the artists in the gallery. I feel bad for Julie Heller, owner, who went out on a limb to allow me to show in another gallery, The Ehva Gallery. It was gutsy and generous of her. She has been around the Provincetown art scene for some time now and knows the ropes. Artists are renown for helping one another but then there are some who are small minded and think mainly of themselves.
I was one of the original founding members of the OIA (Organization of Independent Artists) that organized shows in federal buildings in NY City and Washington. It is still in existance. We also put together an exhibition at Lincoln Center NY City called “Dissonance an Harmony “, all of this done on a voluntary basis. We helped artists get exposure in main thoroughfares with publicity and media exposure. This was all about good will, there was no back biting or animosity if one artist attracted more attention than another, good for them
I love the art community and have always been supportive of it. One would think that artists would be pleased to see another artist get a break and have back to back shows in a town that has nurtured him, been supportive of him, in a place that was seminal in his art career and has paid a lot of dues. I bear no malice to anyone who objected and perhaps I understand their grievances. But – they must remember it is small minded to act in such a way and small minded acts breeds contempt which in turn can lead to small minded art.
Art is the great process of expanding the mind. By exploration of the inner depths of the mind of how we see and feel and how we interpret those feeling. It’s a never ending process and an endless search for the elusive truth. So few choose this route and there are failures, but even those who fail are appreciated by so many who are not blessed with the desire or courage to make the attempt, They appreciate and understand the hardships involved for those who do.
Self portraits are very interesting. I have many of them catching me in different moods. Often, I’m not sure they even look like me , but then I’m not a realist painter. I have painted myself from looking in the mirror, but what do I see, the same old face that I shave and wash every so often.
Rembrandt was one of the greatest selfies. The eyes, as someone said, are the mirror of the soul and they are right. I love Rembrandt’s self portraits, especially the one of himself seated on a stool and looking hard at himself with brush, palette and mole held before him. He attacks every mood straight on. From a teenager to old man. From a bright hopeful look to a sad, melancholy look. Some look like he has just landed a commission, the others where he may have just lost one.
I came across a face carved into rock in the French West Indies . It was at the bottom of a waterfall and would be covered by water when the waterfall was in full motion. But it was a dry season and the image could be seen above a small pool. It was just two eyes. From those pupils a line went out circling the eyes and continuing to form the head. Very simple but very memorable. Had the artist sat there and carved an image of herself/himself from an image seen in the pool? Sending out a very early selfie? We will never know. But what we do know is that people do like to make images of themselves. Hence the new term “selfie” from new technology.
Titian and Giotto were great Selfies, also Michelangelo and van Gogh, van Gogh seemed to take it to a new level when he painted himself with bandaged ear. He appears laying in bed with a fur hat, smoking a pipe, looking very content with “himselfie”. I don’t think van Gogh ever thought that his image would be a valued sought after object. But then again, he was a brilliant mind that perhaps knew he would be cherished later.
Artists may just be recording themselves , but I feel it is more than that. It is as if they are looking into the well spring, the source of their work and what is it that makes them tick. Once again it is art trying to resolve the question of, why? Art is a process of creation. It is to make something , a useless object, with hope it will answer the question of why, knowing full well there is no answer.
Here is one of myself trying to focus on what I am trying to do which is to catch myself in a concentrated moment – unshaven and trying to look in more than one direction looking for the reason why?
figurative expressionist artist …………………………………………………………… This is a blog by the artist expressing thoughts on his own paintings as well as experiences with others relating to his daily life and life of painting since the 1950s. …………………………………………………………………. Paintings are posted with words from Bill that are as varied as extolling on the successes of his children, JZ and Liza, to the milestones of his grandchildren and on to his memories of fellow artists, collectors and shows. His art and words touch on things like politics, religion and the weather. ……………………………………………… For Bill, art and life are interwoven. ……………………………………. …………………………………