Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Head versus Hand

I read an interview with Rotraut Klein-Moquay, the widow of Yves Klein today. It was not all that in depth, but it was enough to trigger a few thoughts and emotions inside me. Since last writing, I have been re-visiting some of Sigmar Polke's work and once again finding it quite inspiring. After reading this interview today, I re-visited some of the work of Klein and also read a little more about him than I ever had before.

Although his work has never stood out in any brilliance to me, the process, evolution and construction of his work, (and life), is brilliantly inspiring. Sadly though, it was all cut short, Klein suffered a fatal heart attack at only 34.

I must say I spend A LOT of time on the internet... probably much more than I should, but in defense of all it's non-constructive distractions, and voyeuristic social networking, it does contain a plethora of information so widely and freely available that used to cost me a small fortune from the arts section at secondhand bookstores. It provides me with a 24 hour virtual gallery and bookstore, full of images and information on art and artists that was never accessible to me when I was at Art School, but has now become a great resource for me, (as an artist).

One thing that has surfaced with my recent 'internet viewing', is this current battle between my head and my hand. Whilst my head conjures up images that are free flowing, multi-layered and dynamic, my hand continues to paint these finely tuned, super-flat, graphic slash 'pop' images. I stare at my painting with a sense of bewilderment, wondering how my hand once again managed to trick my head, how these finely painted lines and highly detailed figures keep making their way onto the canvas when my head has other ideas. Often I am even convinced that my head is governing my hand because the work may start out one way... but then the hand takes over and the head must just surrender into some kind of auto-pilot mode.

It's not that I don't enjoy painting this particular style of work... it's just that I so desperately want to 'break out'... or break the mold, step outside the square for a little while.

I've even been trying to convince myself that after spending hours upon hours fine tuning a piece, re-working every line, that I should either sand it back or paint a white-wash over it so that it becomes not the final image, but merely the base layer of the work... but I deliberate, after considering just how long the work has taken to paint and get to the polished and detailed state that it's in.

There is a sense of freedom and even liberation that comes with creating work that is not so refined and 'confined'. Of course, there is also a sense of satisfaction that still comes with paitning graphic and slick images that require enormous amounts of patience - (part of the satisfaction is the fact I have actually found that much patience within me). However, many of my recent ideas do not lend themselves to the hard edged pop style of painting, so I need to find a way to release the tiger from its creative cage.

Above image: Yves Klein covers a naked model in blue paint to use as a 'living brush'.

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