Friday, December 26, 2008

The Direction of Light

Lumière, 2008, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches
© 2008 Diane McGregor

"The Direction of Light," a poem by Linda Hogan:

New stones have risen up earth's labor
toward air. Everything rises,
the ocean in a cloud,
the rain forest passing
above our heads.
Children grow inch by inch
like trees in a graveyard,
victors over the same gravity
that pulls us down.
Even our light continues
on through the universe, and do we stop to
wonder who will see it
and where,
when the light of this earth is gone?
May there long be our light.

And then it falls. Shades are pulled down
between two worlds, clouds fall
as rain, light returns
the way rain from Brazil falls
in New York and the green parrots
in their cages feel it, shake their
feathers, and remember home
and are alive
and should they be thankful
for that gift
or should they curse like sailors and grieve?

I tell the parrots,
I too have wanted to give up
on everything
when what was right turned wrong
and the revolutionaries
who rose up
like yeast in life's bread, turned
against those who now rise up.

That's why I take the side of light --
don't you? -- with the weight of living
tugging us down and earth wanting us back
despite great thoughts and smiling faces
that are prisons in between
the worlds of buying
and selling even the parrots
we teach to say "Hello."

Hello. Did I call this poem
the direction of light?
I meant life
so let this word
overthrow the first
and rise up to the start.

("The Direction of Light" is taken from The Book of Medicines: Poems by Linda Hogan, Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 1993, pages 79-80.)

Monday, December 15, 2008


First Breath, 2008, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 inches
© 2008 Diane McGregor

My work is about process, and I often find myself submerged within the painting, the paint, the brushstrokes, the moment. Starting with the grid, I slowly build up grid layers of paint, almost in a trance putting down horizontal and vertical brushstrokes. As my body of work evolves, I am finding it more satisfying to leave some of the grid intact (rather than blending the entire grid into a diaphanous structure). This is permitting me to add more textures and areas of pure color, and I'm enjoying the more dynamic interface with the act of painting and the end result. I've been thinking a lot lately about how process and contemplation are related.

I lead a contemplative life -- not full of blissful meditative moments but rather a life of hard work, struggle, and effort while maintaining awareness of the present moment. I am reading Thomas Merton's The Inner Experience, a book about the contemplative life, and he writes:
One of the strange laws of the contemplative life is that in it you do not sit down and solve problems: you bear with them until they somehow solve themselves. Or until life itself solves them for you. Usually the solution consists in a discovery that they only existed insofar as they were inseparably connected with your own illusory exterior self. The solution of most such problems comes with the dissolution of this false self.
I think process-oriented work is contemplative. Painting is all about problem solving, and process-oriented work is all about letting the problem work out its own solution. It is a challenge to allow the process to find its way through, to consciously keep out of your own way and let the paint and the process come together into a fully realized artwork. But for me, this makes the whole act of painting a spiritual practice as I learn to let go and contemplate the solutions I am given.

(The above quote is taken from The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation by Thomas Merton, page 2.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Andrew Forge, Fall (For P.M.), 2000, oil on canvas, 44 x 36 inches

I went to New York City a few weeks ago and bought a wonderful catalogue of Andrew Forge's work at the Betty Cuningham Gallery. Forge was a painter and a well-known art critic. His paintings are composed of tiny dots of color, a repetitive technique -- a technique of gradual accumulation -- that attracts me. Although obviously influenced by pointillism, the work is non-representational and completely modern. I think his work is honest and sincere, without exposing a sense of the artist's ego. A critic once wrote that Forge's paintings "stand as poetic meditations on the process of perception."

The catalogue includes excerpts from an interview which reveal Forge to be a great thinker with a keen insight into other artists' work, among them Giacometti, Monet, and Bonnard. Regarding Monet's late work, Forge observes that Monet begins to
realize the connection between the kind of painting that he's doing and the way in which the painting absorbs the onlooker, and the ambient consequences of this, and once the idea of a series begins to fascinate him -- all this brings into his art, at the turn of the century, so much of what constitutes our consciousness, the flow of time, the feeling that it is actually our minds that are forming and re-forming the imagery that the painter is dealing with, that these images are not, so to speak, taken from the culture at large, but are actually discovered out of individual experience.

And of course that's his modernity; he realizes intuitively that the culture is no longer providing us with those great, firm icons that it had given us in the past; that somehow modern man is thrown back onto his own nervous system, his own perceptual system, his own struggle for cognition. With Monet this is acted out in the painting; it's an extraordinary life-work.

Claude Monet, The Water Lily Pond (Japanese Bridge), 1900, oil on canvas,
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

(The above quote is taken from Andrew Forge, Exhibition Catalogue 2007, Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York, NY, page 22.)

Friday, October 31, 2008


"The progression of a painter's work, as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity: toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer." --Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1953, National Gallery of Art, Washington,
Gift of the Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc.

An abstract painting is an archive of decisions. Painting is a process of learning what to keep and what to let go of. A lot of painting happens by sitting around and looking, looking at the painting from all angles, feeling what's missing, what needs tweaking, where the color is unbalanced or too heavy. A lot of painting also happens by looking at and studying other painters' paintings.

Rothko. He seemed to instinctively know how to achieve fullness through emptiness -- his work communes with me on a level that is very close to my own visual ideals: repetition, color, luminosity, containment, infinity.

Briony Fer, in her wonderful book, The Infinite Line, observes that "there is something very distinctive and indeed extreme about Rothko's insistence that repetition should serve rather than subvert the redemptive function of the picture." She continues:
Rothko's repetition, of course, rarely gets talked about as repetition. Instead it is called his 'classic' or 'signature style'....Rothko's template of an upright rectangular canvas, with a stack of rectangular forms, endlessly differentiated, endlessly nuanced, is both stringent and flexible. It invites a subtle discernment of the differences that occur, even as it repeats. Likewise, there are colour repetitions and colour differences mobilised within the basic schema....Rothko himself once told a friend why it was worth repeating: 'If a thing is worth doing once, it is worth doing over and over again -- exploring it, probing it, demanding by this repetition that the public look at it.' There is something voracious about the demand, the demand to look, commanding attention through repetition, a concentration of mind.
There is something in my own appetite for looking, for probing, for exploring every nuance available through repetition, that resonates with Rothko's words. Rothko, unlike the minimalists, continually reworked a basic format in order to reach the transcendent potential of painting. Sublime yet intimate, his work summons a meditative or contemplative gaze while concomitantly invoking ecstasy and tragedy.

(The above quotes are taken from The Infinite Line, by Briony Fer, pages 6-8.)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Painting Truth

I found this quote by painter Philip Guston which I believe sums up the truth of painting:
In my experience a painting is not made with colours and paint at all. I don't know what a painting is; who knows what sets off even the desire to paint? It might be things, thoughts, a memory, sensations, which have nothing to do directly with painting itself. They can come from anything and anywhere, a trifle, some detail observed, wondered about and, naturally from the previous painting. The painting is not on a surface, but on a plane which is imagined. It moves in a mind. It is not there physically at all. It is an illusion, a piece of magic, so what you see is not what you see.... There is Leonardo da Vinci's famous statement that painting is a thing of the mind. I think that's right. I think that the idea of the pleasure of the eye is not merely limited, it isn't even possible. Everything means something. Anything in life or in art, any mark you make has meaning and the only question is, 'what kind of meaning?'
-- Philip Guston, from "Philip Guston Talking" (lecture given at the University of Minnestoa, March 1978)
Guston here is talking about the idea of painting, rather than the existence of some physical materials on a canvas that make a beautiful image. That is the true nature of painting -- it is formed in the mind. The witness to beauty and the sublime connection we may feel with a certain painting is about the mind's connection to that idea -- it's not a visual connection but an emotional connection that makes a painting visually compelling. The meaning behind the painting is what makes the painting, especially when we are talking about abstract painting. A painter's philosophy made manifest is what abstract painting is all about. A painting is a living thing, it "moves in a mind."

Monday, October 6, 2008


"The mood
Traced in shadow
An indecipherable cause."
-- Wallace Stevens, from "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird"

Shadow Trace, 2008, oil on canvas, 18x18 inches
© 2008 Diane McGregor

I love poetry. Reading poetry gives me the same thrill as looking at abstract paintings -- all at once, a feeling, "an indecipherable cause," enters one's imagination and takes flight. I often use poetry to find evocative titles for my work. Since my abstractions come from within and are created slowly over time through accretion, chance, and intuition, often the right title can create a poetic interpretation of the mysterious reality of a painting. Sometimes, the titles come to me as I'm working. Other times, a word or phrase from a poem can trigger an image in my mind that then becomes a painting. Finally, as is the case here with Shadow Trace, I discover the title by looking through favorite poems. Very often, the right title transforms the painting into something profound, beyond just paint on canvas. The painting rightly assumes its place in the world, having never before existed in quite this combination of color and form, light and dark, poetry and silence. My involvement with each painting is like a birthing experience, and only I and the painting know what labor pains I have suffered in creating it. Sometimes, the title is an invitation for the viewer to witness this very private struggle and triumph.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


"The wide open expanse of the view,
The true condition of mind,
Is like the sky, like space:
Without center, without edge, without goal."
-- Shabkar Rinpoche

I think a lot about infinity when I work. Dark into light, light into dark, endless imperceptible shifts. Repeating the brushstroke, each an incremental unit organized into a grid, repetition becomes a way of creating an implied infinity. The brushstrokes become smaller and smaller until the grid melts away and all that's left is an ethereal cloud of color, shadows and light. The finite and the infinite coexist.

In meditation, this is the practice of letting go into the infinite expanse beyond the mind. Lama Surya Das describes the process:
Breathing in, breathing out -- rhythmic, like the waves of the sea. We are releasing, settling down and learning how to just be. Let things settle on their own, in their own time, their own way, their own place. Wherever things fall and land, let them fall into place as they will, without intervention, without artifice. Learn to let things come and go; learn to just be. This is a huge step, an incandescent lesson.
I try to enter that same spaciousness when I paint. I try to walk that egoless path, so that my painting can become something of its own being, the brushstrokes falling into place as they will. Of course, there is no painting without the mind attempting to control things, so it is a constant balancing act between these two conditions of consciousness. But I believe the more I let go and let the painting find its way into being, the more successful the painting is, and the better it can communicate to the viewer from an archetypal, universal perspective. This is my hope each time I begin a painting, and each time I finish one.

(The above quotes are taken from Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be, by Lama Surya Das, page 97.)

Monday, September 22, 2008


Consciously experiencing the seasonal shifts in New Mexico is an important part of my work. I lived in Hawaii for over a decade, and before that Tucson -- both places really have no true "autumn" or "winter" seasons. Here in Santa Fe, autumn and winter are my favorite and most inspiring seasons. The aspen and cottonwood trees are turning golden, the air is fine and brisk, the poetry of winter is closing in. The migrating birds are leaving, others are coming to find their winter homes. I am aware that these cycles of nature, and the natural balance of things, are a reflection of my own cycles and changes as a painter. Abstraction embraces all these little mysteries. Inspiration seeps in and saturates the creative moments, and somehow it all ends up on the canvas in another form -- inexplicable yet present, enigmatic yet strangely familiar. My palette changes with the seasons, too -- color speaks to me out of the realms of time and nature. The painting shown here is a mid-summer painting, bursting with life in lush green. Now, I turn my thoughts to ochres and violets, grays and umbers. When winter arrives, white will become a "color" for me, with all its trembling and delicate nuances of shadow and light. This awareness of the seasons passing is a precious, nurturing voice for my creative soul.

Green Fire, 2008, oil on canvas, 12x12 inches
© 2008 Diane McGregor

Friday, September 12, 2008


As I move forward in my search for the Ideal, the Absolute, I often seek inspiration from the work and writings of Donald Judd. Although he was primarily a sculptor, his reverence for space and light are what draw me to his work and his philosophy. When I am stuck in a painting, feeling defeated, confused, unable to see my own vision of what I long to express, I turn to the clean, open, pure vision of Judd. I regain some of my clarity and purpose as I study his work. I own a wonderful catalogue of Judd's work that I often pore over to restore and sustain my vision.

In his catalogue essay, Rudi Fuchs observes that Judd's work, and Mondrian's too, were "moments of realised conviction, arrived at by quiet, patient, emotional reasoning and probing.... Judd argued that once an artist had come to a pragmatic conclusion, based on honest practice, to give a piece a definite shape and color, that definition was not a whim of style. It was a fact that, by its very existence, became as objective as any piece of knowledge that is added to all we know in the world." This is dedication to the process of defining what it is that you feel compelled to produce, to maintain that vision without distraction, to search out with integrity and honesty your ideals of what a work of art should be. Abstraction is a serious business, requiring conviction of purpose and careful consideration, as well as solitude and privacy in order to filter out all extraneous and unnecessary impulses. This is why Judd moved from New York City to the deserted fields of Marfa, Texas. The move was to "protect his independence and to give him the space to work carefully and unhurried at his own pace." Judd knew that the competitive edge of living and creating in New York would inevitably lead to compromise. His devotion to space, light, and the integrity of the placement of each piece is what makes Judd's work so powerful and unshakable.

Chinati Foundation. Permanent installation of concrete works by Donald Judd.

(The above quotes are taken from Donald Judd, edited by Nicholas Serota, pages 17-18.)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Breathing Space

"Not to know, but to go on." -- Agnes Martin

I find an opening up to life, to chance, to miracles when I paint. I breathe, and with each breath, a brushstroke. This practice lets me experience the sublime in the simple repetitive task of weaving the surface of a painting. I don't know where each brushstroke will take me, as we don't know what the next moment will hold for each of us. But I continue on, the challenge is worthy, it is my life, my breath. Eventually the imagery appears, a certain glow, a stunning texture, a color mixture of particular delicacy emerges.

An issue of great importance to me in my work is containment. It is very important to me that the composition is totally self-contained upon the canvas. I achieve this by surrounding the image and the edges of the canvas with a unifying color, to which the whole painting is keyed. This holds the boundaries of the painting intact, emphasizing its existence as a singular object. At the same time, the painting appears to bloom outward from its confined edges. This convergence of two opposing characteristics -- one a self-contained vessel of color and light, the other a bridge to the infinite and endless expansiveness -- is like a breath: inward then outward.

In her book, The Infinite Line, Brioney Fer discusses these two aspects of Agnes Martin's work. Martin's early pencil grids were "self-contained things, the drawings come to embrace the infinite but resist becoming totalities." The surface of her work "invites a contemplative gaze," Fer asserts, "bolting the viewer to it, as if the work of the work were to open on to an immaterial and meditative space. Agnes Martin liked to think that it could, that the simplest of means could invite the possibility of revelation. She used various words to describe the experience of boundlessness that art could give: 'infinity', 'joy', 'bliss', 'the sublime'....Yet what could be more material than her concern with the medium, her laborious weaving of surface?....Her drawing would not be concerned with the fragment but with completeness, a sense of completeness she suggested by surrounding her grids with a border..." This sense of combining the material with the immaterial, reality with infinity, mapping the "spaciousness of spirit" within the fugitive differences of the hand-drawn grid, inspires me to my own project, to an inner vision of the infinite through the vehicle of repetition.

(The above quotes are taken from The Infinite Line by Brioney Fer, pages 47-53.)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Color and Intuition

My paintings begin with a single color that is methodically applied with short horizontal and vertical strokes, a kind of cross-hatching. Even though this method is very repetitive and disciplined, there is a surprising amount of variation created within these self-imposed limitations. Certain areas of the canvas will be more concentrated with paint, or subtle light effects begin to make an appearance. The grid that is formed from this underpainting shimmers with tenuous modulations.

Aerial Boundary IV, 2008, oil on canvas, 20x20 inches
© 2008 Diane McGregor

The color palette of a particular painting is chosen by an emotional connection to certain colors when I begin the painting. Color plays an important role throughout, and the unplanned discoveries in the realms of color are what usually inspire me to loosen up and allow the painting to tell me where it wants to go. The whole process of creating a painting is this balance between the intuitive signals and the structure of the grid -- sometimes I feel I am just a silent witness to what the painting reveals itself to be.

I often start a studio session with a simple graphite drawing on paper, whether or not it relates to the painting I have in progress. These are small, intimate drawings, usually 3x3 inches. I follow the same course as with an oil painting: I start with very tentative cross-hatched strokes of the pencil, building up some areas into darker clouds of form, using a gum eraser to pull out luminous forms. Sometimes these drawings are later worked into a painting, but I primarily use this practice as another way to initiate a meditative encounter and to clarify my project. I find my drawing experiences to be more immediate and intuitive than is possible with the rigorous build-up of layers of paint, and it helps connect me with the meditative awareness that can nourish one's intuition. Without having to consciously develop color relationships, the lovely graphite color easily unifies the image with only shades of silvery gray, light and dark. The parameters are extremely limited, and yet such beauty and delicacy emerge from this drawing practice. My heart is usually softened and lightened by these images. This strengthens my mission for my art, which is to connect the viewer with a deeper, more profound inner nature that is nourished by Beauty.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


"What would life be like if there were no repetition?" -- Kierkegaard

Morning Sounds III, 2008, oil on canvas, 24x24 inches
© 2008 Diane McGregor

Repetition is the foundation of my art and my world. In my personal life, I thrive on routine: watching the sun rise over the distant mesas, feeding my animals and the wild birds, enjoying my morning tea, listening to the wind in the pines. I live a very structured life and I love it. In my art, my technical objective is Beauty through repetition. As I evolve in my artistic development, minimalism becomes more and more important to me as a language, as an aesthetic, and as a superior goal to strive for. The minimalist gaze is one of repetitive constructs -- I think of Donald Judd and Agnes Martin, two of my favorite artists. That purity of language, the simplicity of clean lines or repeating forms -- this is what is so seductive to me about the minimalist aesthetic. I try to have faith that if I keep at the painting, repeating each brushstroke, repeating its number, that there will come a moment when harmony is born and recognized, and then the painting is on its way to completion.

Repetition is a function of time. In the act of repeating brushstroke after brushstroke, one is essentially exposing temporality for the the viewer. Painting is a very different art form from music, poetry, or even sculpture. There is the time element, a sequence of cognition as one hears each musical notation, or reads each word of a poem, or, in the case of sculpture, walks around the piece, taking it in one section at a time. An abstract painting is all there, at once, simultaneously referencing color, light, pathos, meaning. It hits the viewer with a force of suspended time; that is, in a moment the viewer can "get it" or not -- the painting does not necessarily require a temporal experience to inhabit meaning. However, I believe that minimalist art, through repetition, articulates time to the viewer, and, like a chant, the painting can slowly reveal itself to the viewer in a way that is meditative and uplifting.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Although I am not a practicing Buddhist, the philosophy and spiritual growth offered by Buddhism is very similar to my own beliefs and theories about my art. My studio practice is my spiritual practice. The Buddhist's "empty" mind is the same goal as my desire for an art without ego.

I have been reading a great book, Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art, Jacquelynn Bass and Mary Jane Jacob, editors. Jacob writes:
In the space of art dwells the "mind of don't know." The "empty" mind is the creative mind....The process of art-making in which the artist does not know the outcome, what the work of art will look like, or even be, is a process with shifts and changes, one of simultaneously seeing and finding a new way....In art, as in Buddhism, creative potential resides in that nothing place, that nowhere of emptiness; an open space without attachment to outcome, with an aim to guide the process but the goal (the answer) kept at bay...for as long as usefully possible.

The artist's way of working is a daily routine, a daily confrontation with beauty and fear, harmony and suffering. It is "a life's path...a way of being -- that is integral and ongoing," observes Jacob. She continues:
Practice is about trying, developing, cultivating, improving. Practice connotes repetition: to practice, to perfect. Practice becomes the rituals of life, continual acts of doing. And sustaining a practice -- not just surviving in the business of art, but living in the space of art -- means to know that the process is of greater value than the product, that the making...exceeds the thing made, that the experience outweighs the material form.

Painting is simply a practice of showing up, laying on the paint, and allowing the painting to manifest, trusting that whatever appears at the end is meaningful:
Art-making is above all a process of inquiry. It takes skill and knowledge, valuing one's intuition, and knowing that intuition is much more than a hunch, a fluke, or luck, that it is the surfacing of an inner knowledge we may not have known we possessed. To launch into and carry out a process without a stated outcome is to allow that process of inquiry to unfold; to trust that the right way will arise; to wait, perservering through a blank open space, looking for guideposts, listening with a level of perception that enables us to move in ways we would not have found outside this process.

This deep awareness of the processes of art -- of self in process -- is key to is always determined by the actual process of making and the depth of awareness one brings to bear during that process. This awareness is what moves beyond the known for the self, for the viewer, and potentially for the society or the culture at large. The work of art derives its "presence" from this heightened awareness -- from the artist's presence of mind. Buddhism's call to be present in the moment is also the artist's call.

(The above quotes are taken from pages 164-167 in Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


My search for the Absolute has come through a process-oriented approach. After many years of experimenting and trying different ways to make an abstract painting, I've discovered that when one tries to remove the ego from the process, a pure art can be liberated from the psyche. Methodically applying paint with little or no thought involved is a powerful way to circumvent the ego and create something more archetypal and universal.

Rules of Travel, 2008, oil on canvas, 36x36 inches
© 2008 Diane McGregor

The grid is the underlying structure for all of my work. It weaves under the paint, like a thread, coming back up to the surface to reinstate itself, to lay claim to an area of the composition, then gently guides itself back down under the surface of the painting to emerge again in a later passage. It orders and regulates the pattern of the image.

I begin the painting process by methodically weaving together horizontal and vertical brushstrokes. This technique generates a grid substructure from the very earliest stages of the painting. The grid is then deconstructed, with an eye on the subtle balance of the composition. Eventually light and dark areas emerge, and I follow my intuition to guide the placement, color, and weight of the forms. Fragments of texture and highly saturated hues are left exposed, yielding an emotive quality to the content of the piece. Luminous, softly shifting color fields drift through the image, creating an ambiguous figure-ground relationship that pushes and pulls. I love that tension, movement, and mystery.

I use fan brushes which give a delicate, complex weave to the grid. Sometimes I drag the paint with a loaded brush, sometimes the stroke is smoothed out with medium. The carefully blended color fields are built up from hundreds of strokes, quietly polished into air, light, mist. Painting is my way of meditating, of going beyond the traps of the mind and allowing the moment to just be the action of each brushstroke. Moment upon moment, brushstroke upon brushstroke. The painting, then, becomes a record of a solitary, contemplative practice that is both private and shared.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Evolution of a Vision

My work over the past 25 years has gone through many evolutions and explorations -- a continual quest for what I call "The Absolute." It has been a search for a purity of abstraction and visual truth that articulates my deepest thoughts about beauty and aesthetics. For more than 15 years, my imagery derived from biomorphic abstraction, using organic forms in my work that related to emotional and spiritual connections I had to Nature and the human condition.

Over the last few years, the imagery in my work has been shifting in many ways, as I felt I had said all I could with biomorphic abstraction and I was ready to move on to something new. There was a clarity that was missing from my process and theories. I felt "The Absolute" was once again eluding me and I began an ardent quest to capture it for myself once again. I went to the Sahara Desert in early 2006, camping for a week in that great expanse, and when I returned I felt as though the experience had swept my former imagery out of me, totally and completely. I began to work exclusively with geometry and with a focus on light -- this seemed to me the most natural equivalent to the desert landscape that had stripped me clean of all former perceptions. Geometry, simple straight lines organized into rectangles and squares, gave me the opportunity to focus on light and color and its relation to form and atmosphere. That desert was all about the light -- the light reflecting on pristine dunes, the glorious starlight, the relentless wash of the sun on the landscape.

Working in a geometric format for a couple of years has helped me flesh out where my true interests lie. In my latest work, the Ambient Light Series, I feel I am finally approaching my own "Absolute" aesthetic. I am moving more toward "formlessness," a visual language that relies solely on color, texture, and light. Through this series, I have developed a process that allows the painting to come into its own in a slow and methodical way. I believe the repetitive technique I've been using creates the perfect conditions for "The Absolute" to evolve. I will write more of this process in a later post.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Diane McGregor: Working Space

I have titled my blog "Working Space" after Frank Stella's book of the same title. I am hoping that this blog will provide a conversation about art, pictorial theory, art history and criticism. I am passionately devoted to abstract and non-objective painting, and so my posts will most likely reflect that interest.

Stella writes in his book: "No one wants abstraction to turn itself around to accommodate the innate taste for illusionism; but abstraction has to recognize that the coziness it has created with its sense of reduced, shallow illusionism is not going anywhere. Caravaggio and Rubens made manageable pictorial sense out of the dynamic illustrative diversity of 16th century painting, building a strong base for future painting.... Somehow painting today, especially abstract painting, cannot bring itself to declare what Caravaggio and Rubens demonstated again and again -- that picture building is everything. Abstraction seems to be lost in a dream in which the materiality of pigment reveals painting. It puts too much hope in the efficacy of clever, random gestures. What is needed is a serious effort at structural inventiveness."