Monday, January 21, 2013

Moon Monkey Candle

Moon Monkey Candle

Lawrence Wells


Opening in Prague this Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 18-22h

AM180 Gallery, Bělehradská 45, Praha

Thursday, January 3, 2013

taking risks

Various Signs, 1965 Oil on canvas, 162.5 x 130 cm Georg Baselitz

The lesson I take from Baselitz is one of monumentality.  Art is about taking risks, both during the actual making of the individual works and also in changing direction in the work and keeping things "fresh".  In an interview with Pamela Kort, Baselitz speaks about how important it was for him to be shown in New York, how that step onto the world stage cemented his position as an artist and gave him even more power.  He was 40.  Baselitz is extremely savvy, he took all the right risks, and now he is one of the top artists in the world.  Knowing how to build a career is extremely important .. it's not just about making art, but promoting it, getting it out there, selling it. This is difficult.  If for no other reason, an artist needs to sell his/her work in order to buy more art materials.  Painting like Baselitz does, on a monumental scale with thick paint, is costly.  He can afford it of course, he lives in a chateau, his paintings sell in the millions of dollars.  The amount of money someone will pay is an abstract notion, but it does represent a social affirmation of the artist's stature.  Baselitz is a giant, and a wizard of the highest order.  Its not just the nrushes and canvas, its the strength of his ego made manifest in the work.  And of course each nation needs its artist masters.  Baselitz sits on that throne in Germany.

There are no rules in art.  The only guideline to a successful work of art is: Does it work?  This is a combination of composition, color, subject matter, surface, etc.  The great artists are the ones who are able to push art one step further, to uncover new territory in the visual world.  Baselitz saw early on that the path was stony and steep, but that it was his task to find a new way over the mountain.  This is another thorny issue for the painter.  One must find a new way.  We steal/borrow from all painting that has come before, but the trick is stepping one step higher or farther.  This is a conjurer's trick, to make the viewer believe.  If I am painting now like Schulnik or Baselitz, I can learn some techniques, but the danger is that the work will be derivative.  The artist has to seek for their own way, and if they find it, the work will be unique.  But to do that is to risk failure and ridicule.  The artist is like a tight-rope walker, each step can end in disaster.  Most artists develop techniques that allow them to produce work quickly.  Baselitz, for example, has produced thousands of paintings and drawings.  This is another reason for his success .. the work flows out like a river, an outpouring, it reflects the strength of the man, and his dedication.  In sheer quantity it becomes undeniable.