Sometimes, when I look at the work of a painter who has produced a piece of work which many people would admire enormously because "it looks just like a photograph!", I don't feel any sense of mystery at all.....I can recognise the skill involved, but for me, there is very little mystery when every i is dotted and every t is crossed.
So I like to hold onto the idea that marks made, in a painting, can indeed hover between a thought and a thing - or a thought, and reality. Grabbing hold of that hovering, fleeting idea, and achieving it with paint, seems somehow special and unique and is something I will always aim for, even if I seldom achieve it.
Here are some images which DO achieve this mysterious quality. The marks are MARKS, and I see them both as marks, and as marks which represent things or ideas.
This is one of Arthur Maderson's "looser" market scenes. It is, on close inspection, more like the image one might see thro the lens of a kaleidoscope. The marks are short, choppy and little more than straight fat lines....yet when you squint at the image, they coalesce into a hot, busy, light-filled market scene. Hints of umbrellas, hints of shadows, hints of limbs and heads. This hovers very much between idea and reality, between abstraction and figurative painting. The more I look, the more I THINK I see. I become aware that the foreground figure is glancing to her right, probably staring down at a table of goods. Coming towards her is another woman, looking down too, perhaps pushing something into a bag. In the centre there seems to be someone holding up a child, perhaps? Maybe yes, maybe no. I am conscious of the light, and the atmosphere, in the scene. How this has been achieved with short, straight brushstrokes is a mystery to me. But one I thoroughly enjoy.
Here is another, perhaps slightly easier to read: