A friend of mine who actually has a functioning career as an artist thrives on freedom. It’s her M.O and at times also her schtick. Fuck ‘em, break free and be free. It’s appealing, I can’t deny it. I admire her style, but by nature, I tend to wade in the struggle.
On my team is Philip Guston. In an exciting collection of his writings, lectures and conversations, he says:
When you begin painting you’re too free. That’s why it’s always so painful to start a new picture, or to start the process again, because you have to go through the whole thing again and again. To get rid of the freedom, you might say. I think what is happening is that you’re getting to a state of unfreedom. […] And paradoxically, when you can only do this and not that […] you’re more free in some mysterious metaphysical way.
A few weeks back, I wondered about the psychological freedom that might bond artists as visually different as Amy Silman, Brice Marden and Pierre Bonnard. Perhaps a more precise investigation would involve questioning how each, through unfreedom, came into the work’s truth.