Friday, March 6, 2009

Dear Robert Genn

I have decided to write to you here on my blog and I may or may not send it to you.
I have enjoyed your twice weekly letter to me (and many others).
Last week you presented a "just started" painting to your audience, for comment. A courageous thing to do.
I did not comment, but I did think about it for the rest of the week. 3000 people did comment.
The internal dialog that it started was about "composition". It seemed that by presenting a painting that had only just begun, the only thing that was available for comment was the composition. The thought that started to form for me, was "composition, so what!"
Last week, I saw a comedy special that interviewed Steve Martin. He was discussing the change in humor that did not wait for the punchline and was funny on the way. Humor that may never arrived at the punchline (Andy Kaufman). I have read books with no plot (Eat,Pray Love). I listen to music with no melody (Steve Reich).
What about paintings with no composition? Humor still has to be funny, Books still have to be interesting.
Good composition may aid in completing a piece of art, but it may also act as an abrupt ending to a thought.
Eric Fischl's compositions have an awkwardness that always leave the story ongoing.
I see that my current landscape project has continued to distances me from compositional issues and as I write this I see that I am, and have always been more interested in something that includes pattern and decoration (a word that needs more definition). I have often placed the point of view "off the canvas" and given the viewer the peripheral view. On two occasions I found my painting adorning personal Buddhist altars. I was very pleased by this.

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