Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The Painting in the Painting: Charles Seliger
We forget this.
This thing that can happen in painting. The happen that can happen in painting. It is almost addictive to painters. Finding the painting in the painting, through the painting, with the painting, by the painting. What this means is that the painting is something that happens through the very act of painting, and not the result of some preconceived image that through careful effort produces the desired result. What we are talking about is the painting that evolves, changes, even appears to the painter in the act of painting.
I was thinking about this because I was thinking about Charles Seliger, who was as addicted to this experience as any painter I can think of. At the end of a painting he had arrived somewhere that changed him. That is the addiction. To be changed by making a painting. To learn something, about the world, about art, about ourselves, about the universe.
Because Charles did that as much as anyone. He opened himself up to the universe and said come on in! Make my day! And of course it did! He painted, and he looked and he listened and he mused and he probably prayed in his way, the way that all painters pray, who are looking for redemption and transformation and sublimation and union through the act of painting. It is not because he thought he or the world needed another painting. It is because the act of painting was everything; absolution, affirmation, inspiration, divination, integration, revelation. Through painting Charles Seliger communed with the universe. And that only happens when you find the painting in the painting.
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