Saturday, April 19, 2014

Post-mortem "Aha!"

After years of post-mortem work (said with Maynard's inflection), it arrived.

In 1997 a young Hispanic man in his early thirties came into the gallery. He and his wife had attained a level of financial status that she felt dictated the display of taste and affluence and, with that in mind, she'd sent him out to get a painting to go over the couch. 

He was drawn to a piece by Francine Tint, a New York artist whose large, gestural swaths were of the kind that prompted the remark: "My kid could do that." The work (jargon for painting), always modestly priced, was, in this case, a mere $1,200.00 for a five foot by three foot piece of frameless, unstretched canvas with frayed edges, no doubt torn from a larger segment.

He asked how he could justify something like that to his friends....they'd laugh.

At the time I was, poor salesman that I was, at a loss. But the other day -- I closed in '98 -- this video of a master archer clued me to the answer. (You may want to skip to 2:25.)  

While childrens' drawings often have a wonderful immediacy (see my drawing at bottom of post here), the combination of talent and skill that produces art is often the result of practice. But practice is a bit of a misnomer since most artists rarely repeat a performance. And when they do, they may be the only one aware of the subtle difference(s). My aesthetic, the motivation for the Aha!, has evolved over a decade. And over that time I've continually practiced looking.

Francine's "gestures" captured the beauty of a moment in time that is, for me, similar to the one prior to the archer's release. And while a child may stumble into the realm of timelessness, masters evoke it at will. 

I'm sure you've heard the glib comment: Practice makes perfect. Some of Francine's were better than others, but like the archer, and as a talented adult, she was able to do it more often than not.

There being no stores in the area, I stopped at a cabin for water. Rambo the cat, very solicitously, 

greeted me saying,  "All cats are talented; and never practice." Unfortunately, the fee to view his art was more than I could afford. But had I been able, I wouldn't have cared if they had laughed. If you don't look, you're guaranteed not to see.

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