resuming work on meiji, 26x78"/composing my artist statement for the exhibition / by Philip Tarlow

meiji at the end of my painting day

1:04 PM: having completed the selection of pieces for the space gallery show, opening on thursday, i entered my studio with fresh energy & resumed work on a new painting, titled meiji, which i had begun one day a few weeks ago, when i needed a change of pace.

i’m envisioning this being part of an exhibition in tokyo.

SITE-5-26-19 Meiji 26x78.jpg

before coming to the studio, i composed the text for my artist statement, for the space gallery show. here’s the current draft, see what you think:

I wanted to do something different with this show. Typically artists display a series of paintings in a single show that have a similar look and feel.

I didn’t do this. Instead, I included paintings done over more than a year, as well as multiple ways of interpreting the same subject. Every painting in this show is based on my experiences at local creek near our home in the Sangre de Christo mountains.

My journey always begins with smaller plein air paintings done on site at this creek. Plein air painting is always an adventure. I’ve often knocked my brushes and paints into the creek; wind gusts have caused several paintings to take flight. And for some reason dogs always want to see what I’m working on.

Our personal signature is contained in every mark we make, whether we’re artists creating paintings or laymen signing a document. For fine art painters, those marks can be informed by our awareness and knowledge of the entire History of Art, from prehistoric cave paintings through the 10th Century Chinese calligraphers & landscape painters; through Matisse; through deKooning, through Twombly right up to the present moment.

I constantly refresh my awareness of key players in that history & reflect on how & why they impact me today.

Paintings are marks on a surface, and always have been. In some cases, they are seen as landscapes or portraits. The fact remains, they are marks on a surface. As Matisse famously said, “ I am not creating landscapes, I am making paintings!”

I believe drawing is the bones of painting. I draw constantly, wherever, whenever. I make discoveries when I draw, and they inevitably spill over into my paintings.

You may notice in this series that similar forms repeat within the context of slightly different stylistic solutions.

When I enter my studio every morning, I have no idea what’s going to happen. That not knowing is at the very heart of creativity.

The paintings you see in this exhibition contain many layers of previous paintings. If I wasn’t happy with what I did the previous day, I painted over it, sometimes allowing the previous layer to peek through. Other times, I like what I did, but have a vague sense I could take it further. So I keep going and add another layer of not knowing.

For me, a painting has reached resolution when it sings.