My art is my biology. Your Woman are my biology . The biology of 20th century anguish. Your Woman are my favorite ancestors. My own body of painting is my nuclear family and my extended family, my cousins and aunts, my children and grand children. My early works are ancestors, my great aunt or great great grandmother. My layers of oil paint are paleontological striations of geological time. And they are also human. They are thought made physical. Emotive and also palpitating.
Art is my natural world. My own painting as well as the art I embrace and make part of my own soul. While I do not see glorious skies or beauteous forests daily, I do experience the abstract scapes and marks of one of my canvases. I feel its rich impasto between my toes much like mud or sand. I walk through the image. I breathe in the color. It fills my lungs and my veins, pulsating through my system. I revel in painting. I believe oil impasto to be the life force that comprises us all. Color is magnificent, a loud but silent language without much, in the US , symbolic or narrative meaning. It is not timely. It is not trend laden like that found in shades of lipstick or the LL Bean catalogue . It is ugly at times. It is not decorative. My colors are my words. Painting with oil and communing with serious art is a religious experience that cuts across denominations and maybe even nations. It is profound. It is my escape from trivia. I believe it to be solely about big issues of life itself and philosophy.
But I was prompted to write to tell you that I finally saw a pink and yellow canvas of yours–at the Weatherspoon Art Gallery in Greensboro, North Carolina. I immediately thought of Claire Moore’s admonition to me 28 years ago about using pink and yellow together. Your Woman series was too much of an historical milestone in American art for me to contend with. Could an unknown female artist use those two colors adjacent to each other and not be derivative and a de Kooning follower? Well, as you saw in my photo scans and slides I am not an expressionist like you and as my painting has no basis in rendering, it is impossible for me to knowingly mimic your masterful passages. And I do not have your anxiety-ridden surfaces–I quietly contemplate when I paint–trying to make evocations, at once spiritual and physical and weighted towards the awestruck visceral, not woman or landscape.
I’ll write again soon after I see another show I think that you may be interested in. Or remember something especially relevant.