by Robert Brown
being an illustrator in the Marine Corps, I studied at The School of the
Art Institute of Chicago and The School of the Corcoran Gallery in Washinton
DC. The main study has been self directed, looking to find the basic point
in making anything at all.
Years ago, I looked at a painting by Picasso and didn t understand it. So I spent hours in front of it, every day for weeks, trying to see what was there. That appears at every moment when the mind subsides. Oddly enough, repetition wears out fixation. Since nothing lasts, and we crave a reference point, it s not obvious. Philip Guston's late work reflects this in its ratty treatment of mundane objects he loved to paint. What do you mean by that? you might say. Take a long look at his work.
I've included Buddhist meditation practice and study in my life for over 27 years. This activity is not one in the ordinary sense, though it is repetitive. There is seeing by repetitive drawing/painting exercises. Content repetition relaxes the mental set about what is happening: When the me feeling fades the King is without his pawns. Stylized forms rather than more natural interpretations or translations of a realistic appearance mirror value rather than illustrate bias. At this time, human forms, buildings, planks, cowboys and cowgirls and their stuff, work well.
Though the images get the credit, I am curious about the process of making. What is left at the end of it besides opinion? Awareness of form, color and texture is not thought of as content is evaluated. The same for word sounds in the consciousness though they have density. Speaking of words, I like the words of the second-century Buddhist philosopher, Nagarjuna, who says (in Steven Batchelors translation of Verses from the Center): "In seeing things to be or not to be, fools fail to see a world at eas."
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