I intend to have a series of related paintings. This seems rather obvious as I am a painting major. My focus and my desire have been to paint glass for the past several years. I think it’s fitting that my senior thesis culminates in paintings of glass. For four years the reception of this idea has been both poor and good. There always seems to be some question as to why anyone would want to paint still life. Nearly every time, when given the option I will paint glass. And very often this has been dismissed. My final projects have been assumed to be some kind of introductory class assignment. I am constantly pushed in one direction or another to paint what others conceive as a path with more options. I enjoy painting landscapes. I enjoy painting figuratively. I have even enjoyed painting abstractly. I have. But still life is the only thing I’ve painted that I feel like I have to keep defending. It’s not merely defense of a painting, but defense of an entire genre. Am I honestly expected to meet this challenge? My first oil painting was seven years ago. For the last five years of that time I have met with only occasional encouragement for the path that I want to pursue. My work cannot defend itself. I have only just begun my exploration. At every step I am tempted to say “Morandi did it!” and lock myself away. But I yield to comments. I explore other options. I try to placate. I paint abstractly. I look for ways to relate painting to my study of physics. I try to find other elements of interest for people. I’ll modify my style and see where that takes me. I’ll paint something different and see where that takes me. Time after time I abandon what I really want to do because the grass may be greener. And time after time I return to glass. Perhaps I’ll have expanded my technique. Perhaps I’ll see something different. But nearly every time my return is a quest for salvation, for a return to peace, for something that I understand and can explore happily. But that is not the case. I am forced to look at my work with new eyes and question “why this, why that?” I return cynical and discouraged. Eventually I remember that the whole point is that I enjoy looking. I like imagining the light curving until it meets my eye. When light hits glass it interacts with the particles that make up the glass. The light bounces back and forth between the particles, being absorbed and released. On the visible level this results in the path the light bending. When it finally reaches my eyes it is focused onto cells which have evolved to stop sending signals to my brain should they bit hit by certain wavelengths. These certain wavelengths are of course determined by the microscopic structure of these cells and their ability to absorb light is done is created by the same mechanism of the glass. When these cells stop signaling my brain my brain is given a lot of information. The wavelengths are translated into colors. The intensity is translated into brightness. This forms an image. This image is processed into things I recognize or things I don’t recognize. All of these processes are transmitted by the same mechanism as the light through the glass. Of course this is a simplification. One cannot say what happens during any of these interactions. One can only see the results. One cannot be sure if the particles one is referring to are “real” or if they’re just useful tools for guessing what will happen on an observable level. No one truly understands how or why anything we see can be seen or perceived. Should I paint abstractly? Nothing that humans have ever imagined is stranger than nature. Should I relate my paintings to physics? I paint as part of an exploration of the natural world. My current area of focus is glass. To exhibit anything else for my final thesis would be untrue to myself. I intend to fill the space provided to me with paintings of glass. I don’t know why I needed to write so much explain that.
|Morandi did it.|