Friday, November 26, 2010

Why Not Say What Happened?

Women and Men, 1991-3.
Father Reading Tom Sawyer To His Son, 1994.
The First Time (Havana, 1949), 1990.
The Green Blanket, 1978
Mary-Ann, 1980.
The Neo-Cubist, 1976-87.
The Listener (Joe Singer in Hiding), 1980.
The Sculptor, 1992.
R.B.Kitaj and cat.

Gentlemen never explain. ~ Jowett
Yet why not say what happened? ~ Robert Lowell

Some images from the book Kitaj by Marco Livingstone, and excerpts on the topic of making art personal from Kitaj's preface to his paintings:

Hemingway told Fitzgerald we're all bitched from the start and that we have to use that hurt: ... I think the modern term is identity, and its art can be the examined life, which is not very heretical after all. There are even a few strong voices around, such as that of I.B. Singer, who say that good art springs from one's tribe. He once wrote: 'Only dilettantes try to be universal; a real artist knows that he's connected with a certain people...'

My idea of art is to make picture-studies, to act upon what can be learnt about the world (according to one's sensations) in these 'studies'. My idea of art is that even though you stay in your own room alot, you still find out about the world; you find, like Picasso said, disguises of things learnt which become new and discrete (paintings) in a changeful history of subjectivity. My idea of art is that it conceals and reveals one's life and that what it confesses, is as Kafka called, 'a rumour of things'...

My pictures and their evidences are not everyone's cup of tea; I know that. But our sainted Emerson spoke for me as I could never do when he said in his Divinity School Address: 'That is always best which gives me to myself. The sublime is excited in me by the great stoical doctrine, obey thyself.'


Susan Beauchemin said...

I'm not familiar with this artist--interesting works! I'd also like to get in touch with obeying thyself.

Brad Gailey said...

I've always been an advocate for self examination and I'm coming around to the point of view that our art is the best vehicle for this exploration; to treat this exploration as a rigorous exercise in investigation in a something like scientific method, looking for that changeful history of subjectivity. Also, Only dilettantes try to be universal speaks to the fact that we are part of our environment, the space we inhabit. I find I am drawn to work in which the space is well composed. It follows from my view of a causality; what is not myself is background and what is not background is me or because of this causality at any given time the space we're in defines us and we define our space. A bit of existentialist claptrap I believe.


martha miller said...

Hi Sue

Check him out! I love Kitaj...
Yes. You must O B E Y that Leo Moon more than once in a while!!! xo

Word Verification:


Ow, syss - you need more time to yourself!!!

martha miller said...

Hey, Brad - your existential claptrap translates to a drawing exercise I give my life drawing students where I ask them to draw everything around the model, but not the model...