structuralism

I’m not talking about that first year linguistics theory that I bet doesn’t mean much to most. Naming paintings always tends to orient the viewer for better or worse. It’s a “for the worst” scenario when the name distracts the viewer from experiencing the painting and instead creates another walk down a pathway of allegedly critical thinking. That is, another step into the quicksand of analytical thought, or the characteristically judgemental, Left-brained reduction of art into theory. Since Structuralism is a linguistic theory, I probably shouldn’t have named these paintings that. Let’s just say it was…ironic. Yep. That’s it.

 

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Structuralism 1 (180x120cm MM on canvas)

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Structuralism 3 (150 x 100cm mm in canvas)

 

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Structuralism 3 (120x120cm mm on canvas)

 

post show momentum

Disco sounds / Don’t stop till you get enough

 

once the momentum is established, and the studio is cleaned up, the trip can continue….

 

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Zavros

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/review-magic-mike–michael-zavros-a-perfect-world-of-glamour-and-irony-20170501-gvwgo5.html

 

Hmmmm…up front I just wanna say I love the Z even more than he loves himself. Thats saying something. No doubt he works hard and long on his paintings. And the photos….oh the photos. Hangin with the cool kids of the art scene. Ahhhh…

 

All I see here with the photorealism and obsession with his own body and face as well as luxury cars and gym equipment is narcissism and boredom. I cannot see much irony or a meta-narrative. As clinical practice shows, pathological narcissism is a very real cause of our society’s sense of emptiness. Indulgence in overt narcissism is not the same as irony.

At the end of the article, the writer seems to be daring to entertain some doubt about the hero worship of Z and his super realist technique, how he is a “real painter’. Using one’s child as part of the narcissistic (ironic) fantasy seems to push the writer too far in his flow of praise.

“Critiquing consumerism” seems like a weak attempt to justify Z’s embrace of what appears to be overt narcissism. The obsession with his body and his face is evident in the paintings…no amount of alleged ironic interpretations post hoc will undo the reality of the subject matter of the pictures. Substance over form is the road to reality, and the substance of the paintings (except for that beautiful little temple on the lake) is “Another instagram day in the life of” an icon clothed in the glory of his own gloriousness. Do you think Kanye West is being ironic in his music or in his behaviour? More like a cringe-worthy victim of his own abject self-loving.

Truth telling is important. If you are being narcissistic, be self-aware enough to be that, until life provides some pushback. Saying “I was being ironic” is not gonna wash with everyone. Most people will go along with a “successful” narcissist until the followers are no longer getting their satisfaction. The art scene itself is a form of narcissistic whirlpool where the followers revolve around the Icon in a Dante-esque circle of Hell. maybe that’s what Z is satirising while he embraces it with all sincerity. But that’s not real satire. There’s a word for it and go read Dante for that one.

In a world shuddering under the destructive consequences of peak narcissism, we need our critiques of it to be real. I like Z’s paintings but let’s not pretend it’s irony.

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Cadmium yellow meditations

Still finishing paintings that are the result of a method I developed with the show breathing down my neck. Having a big solo show always tends to inspire the development of something technically different. That’s why I’m continuing on this style.

One person has spoken to me at length about this hue. It’s my favourite yellow and has much depth and vitality to it.

#cadmium_yellow

#keep_painting_after_show

#pursuing_organicity

#organicity

 

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after the show

If you know your Why and you are directed by a true daemonic obsession by the paint, you may just continue in your groove after the exhibition is over. If you are compelled by forces that are deep within the You that even “knowing your Why” doesn’t cover the half of it, you might just find yourself back in the studio on the Wednesday after the Friday opening. And that would be just fine. Why not let the groove continue if its flowing?

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“Understanding” abstraction

Someone (who works in design) asks me how to “understand” abstract paintings. Obviously there has to be an entry point for non-representational, non-figurative art. Although I think the word “understand” gives too much emphasis to Left Brain / analytical and reductive approaches to what is an art work, it is helpful for some of us to have a way of thinking about abstraction. So I did a drawing summarising my process of painting. Even the basic idea that I am seeking to echo the natural can quickly provide a point of entry.

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Solo show Number 3 (2017), Afterthoughts

 

Things I noticed this time around :

I was more or less satisfied with every picture..I was proud of the totality. I see I have no issues with productivity. Quality….I met my own expectations.

I received a lot of intelligent positive feedback (supported by a willingness to buy) from people both within and outside of the art industry. People got what I was doing without being spoonfed and had as much sophistication if not more than any analysis I have read by “professional” critics or art writers.

I got and get most satisfaction from people who experience the art as an intuitive, holistic,  spiritual or supra-intellectual process….including the vulnerability of having a show. As a psychiatrist friend eloquently pointed out, it’s anxiety-provoking because someone can trivialise it by saying hmmm don’t like this bit, like this bit….missing the whole point of the totality or ignoring the presence of soul on the canvas. There is also the possibility that no one comes and you are left with your own alleged authenticity in an indifferent little world called Brisbane, which is a tiny stage. On tiny stages, you still see all the predictable dynamics played out : flattery, judgement by indifference or non-attendance, heartfelt praise, insightful commentary, straight-out confrontation.  Fortunately the bad egoisms didnt manifest and the good vibes were plentiful. I am grateful for having great friends and followers.

Although many people from within the “professional” (?) art world came and provided a lot of positive feedback without the usual cynicism that jaded employees and associates of art organisations often exude, it was apparent that one or two invited people didn’t turn up. I should give them my two bob…these strangers to me in mind and heart.

I knew they wouldn’t. I did not want them to. I hoped they wouldn’t. I had already perused their social media and seen that what we have here is a superficial follower of the latest designated paragons of the fashion industry, a faux sunflower whose plasticity does not need the sunlight of the living world. I wouldn’t go as far as to call them parasites on the lives of the top earning artists. Everyone needs a job.

Having spent the whole night speaking with people, it was a great relief not to have to pretend that I couldn’t see into the motives of this kind of person. Having seen many narcissistic individuals in my clinical practice at length, I was glad that I didn’t have to meet another gatekeeper of the school formal that is the Australian art scene.

My tolerance for the cool kids not long out of school that derive their sense of meaning from association with the “top artists” is……LIMITED. Best not to play together.

I learned who are my friends, and which friends walk the walk. (Ofcourse not everyone could make it…not talking about y’all.). Thanks guys for helping so much with prep and support.

I saw that a show always brings me into a new technique. This time I got more into my white-outs, and overall came closer to capturing the shamanic engagement with natural textures, patterns and the mathematics of the fractal world.

I came closer to filling the gap between my practice of psychiatry and my process of art, and linked the search for the underlying narratives in psychiatry with the search for the underlying patterns of the natural world. I hope I showed my patients how to live in the head and in the heart, as the magazine profile said.

I hope I showed my patients that your will to persevere and create can break on through the limitations placed upon you by the little box system of society.

In a world that is rapidly changing, with the traditional gate keepers of the arts / spirituality / political power / science all being radically challenged, we will increasingly decide who we are and achieve what we want to achieve, irrespective of the judgements of the old power structures. I dare to keep creating despite the indifference of some, and look at that, you start to get noticed and followed. I could give up medicine and earn solely from paintings but I see no reason why one cannot realise all one’s potentialities. At least the main ones.

Finally, I learned that I will continue to develop my painting and that I will also continue to develop my writing, psychiatry, financial efficacy and my travelling life. Teaching others how to get through a painting is no different to teaching someone how to negotiate life in crisis. And thus we approach a more integrated, vital life that does not depend on the approval of others.IMG_5021.JPG

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