Wednesday, February 2, 2011
The look of freedom
(Amy Sillman, 2009(?); Pierre Bonnard, Before Dinner, 1924; Brice Marden, Cold Mountain 6 (Bridge), 1989-1991)
Can work by different artists be unified not only by formal elements (similar palette, complementary touch) but by a spirit, a drive? I’m not talking about conceptually comparable works, but a shared artmaking psychology. Can psychology be visual?
What if there were three artists for whom drawing represented an escape. In the “real world” they might feel weighed down by obligation – “god, another dinner party” – or by decorum – “you simply must be a certain way” – or perhaps criticism – “you are not.” But on the page, for these three, all the should, can’t and must disappears. They can be who they want or strive to be for the short moment that their inner voices, or actual outer voices, allow them to. Can a viewer see this freedom?
Sure, you need some examples, I know.
How about: Amy Silman, Pierre Bonnard, Brice Marden. They are very different, of course, in terms of era and approach. Silman is palpably anxious, Bonnard quiet, Marden balanced. But what about the urge to make, the release, the door it opens. Can you see that? I’d really like you to answer this question.