Monday, August 17, 2009
Picking the Pieces
On a recent afternoon I had my head blown; wig flipped; script flipped by THIS Guston at the National Gallery. I don't know why I didn't think about his relationship to "image" before. His piling together of images/iconography makes it difficult, if not impossible, to stitch together a sure, coherent narrative that everyone can agree on. (didn't he say at some point that he wanted to undermine the " image" because we are image-ridden?)
I mention this because I am faced with this over and over; that I keep getting asked what my paintings mean. What's their story? And I give a very, personally, unsatisfactory answer about the content being in the assembly of the images. The "narrative" is in the presence of these painted parts appearing together. The Brueghel plowman appears with some "Christmas-y" trees, appears with a mugging because these things all exist at the same time in the world don't they? Why don't we ask, "World? What's the story?" Oh, wait... we do. Everyday, in some cases.
I am still a little insecure about the "content in the assembly" answer though. I am afraid that it might be a dodge. Like saying, "it is whatever you think it is." I hate that answer. Regardless of whether or not it's true.