Saturday, February 04, 2006

the opposite of "eureka!"

two paintings arrived in the mail yesterday from Joe.
I worked on his website.
and he paid me by sending me
of his old paintings that
weren’t too big to mail
or destined for a gallery.
so i received his cast-offs…
but even his cast-offs
are amazing in my book.
these photos don’t do them justice.

what i like about these paintings-
the ones he doesn’t care for anymore-
is that they are seeds of his later work.
when you follow an artist for a long time
you see an evolution of style
that is similar to
evolution in biology…
some techniques or images
don’t work and are “selected” against
and some “mutations” do work
and become more and more
prominent in paintings in the future.
evolution of style by asthetic selection.

artists that never go through this evolution
in fine arts and crafts, as well as music…
never develop a distinct style.
style that doesn’t change becomes stale.
what a great many people don’t understand about evolution
is that it is full of mistakes;
maladapted species that go extinct,
paintings that just don’t work,
songs that fall flat…

when i was learning to snowboard
my much more accomplished pal
would always tell me,
"if you're not falling,
you're not learning…

i understand this is in art…
and evolution…
if i could only apply this to my own research.

my dad had this old New Yorker cartoon
hanging in his lab when i was a kid:

that’s how i feel.

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