Roman Senator’s Wife

I am reading Roland Barthe’s Camera Lucida. Some of what he says of photography is equally true of current figurative painting.

Everyone has a phone which allows them to now capture the minutia of their daily lives. This has effected photography as even someone with no artistic inclinations can take a shot which is frame worthy given the right location. now we are witness to location porn or given the ease of snapping photos, luck of happening upon an interesting moment more than compelling individualized photographic voice. Digital photos have become akin to infinite monkey theorem albeit at an extremely accelerated rate.

With painting the negative impact is slightly different. Regardless of an artist’s style, people expect a type of hyper realism, being able to capture and document their lives with a pocket sized device instantly would make anything short of this, espcially when time consuming posing is involved, seem absurd or archaic at best.

To paraphrase Barthes on being the subject of a (portrait) photograph:

I am at the same time: the one I think I am, the one the photographer thinks I am and the one he makes use of to exhibit his art.

While hyper realism bores me, I do aim for each work to capture the subject’s likeness. Not a disconnect but an unexpected effect sometimes occurs. The subject of a portrait has a definite image of themselves. The artist may notice something physically or psychologically that they do not see in themselves (or like).  The effect similar  to when one hears a recording of their voice. Few think it accurate.

Part of what Barthes has in mind, perception of oneself versus the relationship between artist and subject. With portraits, I want accuracy of portrayal but it has always been that it is the artist describing the subject using their words. Words in this case being the artist’s style/voice. I talk about you but I choose my own words to do so.

This is a 9×12 piece on French cotton paper. The inherent properties of the paper is a softness and delicacy of line.

 

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Sculptures

I have been doing sculptures for years but always  looked upon them as a largely private matter.

Mostly, they are done just to keep the juices flowing. I had not really ever had  any intent to show or sell them.

Stylistically, they are akin to some of what Cy Twombly, Jack Whitten & Robert Rauschenberg had done. They are  one part totemic object, one part a sort of a chronicle of a moment and place. Intuitively I came up with my own rules which served me well from the get go. I will only use materials that are on hand and of the time and place that I am at. This lends a strong improvisational element to my sculptures while also allowing the place to dictate important aspects of the work’s voice.

It is “easy” compared to my other visual work since there is no pre plan and so a piece can never be wrong. Working in a different manner and medium from my other work has led me to view my process in a new light which ultimately adds to my chops and palette.

A few people having seen some of them, understood what they were about and even liked them. I would have considered it an achievement to have had even one person “get it” . So many more than that, it melted my resolve for them to remain unseen. Of course I fully realize that they are not going to be everybody’s cup of tea.  I am sure too, that there will be people that really enjoy my paintings and drawings but are left cold by these.

They are varying degrees of sturdy. Most done on the road, if not gifted would not make it home. And even left behind as a memento, they often have a limited lifespan. Others on account of the nature of the materials used, start to die the moment that they are born. The winner always in a fatal game.

This fragility makes it so that my sculptures are often three works in one. There is the conception and creation of the piece. Then there is the physical work itself for however long it lasts and lastly the photo of the piece.

Even knowing that some will not physically last, I have not photographed every sculpture i have ever done. I like the idea of their existence being akin to hearing a piece of music or poem. It can give pleasure and add to you in some way but its intangible.

Give me a pencil nubbin and scrap of paper and I am pleased. I do not need everything I do to be worthy of being framed or even seen. I get a huge pleasure now in the process. This is a major aspect of my sculptures importance to myself. The process is the pay off intellectually and spiritually.

W.Wolfson ’19

 

“Monkey Bird”

“Cecil Taylor”

“One Eyed Face”  (This one is actually very sturdy being wood & Steel)

Sky Bed

I capture what I am seeing in my work. It always gives me great pleasure, whether a series of quick sketches in my pocket pad or more fully realized works.

In Vancouver recently, I stayed way above the streets with a breath taking view of both the neon streams of the street but also to the left of me the port of Vancouver and the mountains behind it.

This is the view from my bed, a sort of urban impressionism. Colored pencils 9×12 colored paper.

 

 

skybed