Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oh no!

Thoughts are so onerous. I’m envious of birds that can flit around without having to think about stuff all the time. I mean maybe they think about stuff, but it’s important stuff, like where to find the next worm. As humans our heads are filled with…filler. Thoughts that serve no practical purpose. Nature could have at least provided us with an on/off switch. Oh there’s sleep, of course, which can, as Shakespeare so beautifully put it, knit up the raveled sleeve of care, but that only lasts until we wake up and are again at our own mercy.

Meditate, they say. Well I have, forever. There’s a great misunderstanding about meditation, as it’s generally perceived to be a state without thought, and I’m here to tell you the bad news—that thoughts are inevitable, and no matter how much you meditate, they keep on coming, like waves on the sea. What you learn from meditation is not to be attached to them. You get a thought, wave it bye-bye, and are on to the next thought. You learn that, while the act of thinking isn’t optional, the content is. Great! All that practice to finally realize that our thoughts are absolutely meaningless, and the beliefs we once held so dear are simply thoughts we think more consistently than others. Trust me, it was much more fun when I took the shit my mind made up seriously. 

So now what?  I’ve lived long enough to know that, outside of the occasional glass of red wine and a complete dependence on chocolate, drugs are not the answer; further, I just can’t get into golf, and Sudoku makes my head hurt.

This is why I am an artist. Because art is language without words, communication that’s capable of skipping over the thinking part and going straight to feeling mode. This is why I hate artists’ statements, because they’re an attempt to add a rational motive to something that, when it’s at its best, is irrational. And this is also why I lean toward abstract, or rather, non-representational, art, because it’s mediation-free; with few indications of how one is expected to respond, it just is what it is. While I didn't start out with an intention—I was simply doing what I was doing—I  realize now that for the last few years I’ve been experimenting with recognizable images, to see if I can create a non-directed, abstract experience while still using pictures, if that makes any sense, which I hope it doesn’t. Fuck, I think I just wrote an artists’ statement.

Where I End and You Begin, 2007, oil on panel, 12" x 18".

11 comments:

joan said...

You did...just make an artists statement. I think your painting, which I like, should be called "where my loose parts meet your train/of thought" I may be jet lagging!

ken said...

beautiful.

(the words plus the painting. --ironically?)

Carol Diehl said...

I know, ironic that I'm a writer too. I have to do SOMETHING with all those thoughts!

Pam Farrell said...

thoughts: notice them, acknowledge them, accept them, then let them go. Anything important will stick around.

The "artists statement" that you just posted is the best kind: direct, conversational, extemporaneous, and says more in a few words than the constipated paragraphs I struggle to produce.

Rob said...

I love the painting. I'm not a fan or representational art but you've made it interesting by combining it with abstract forms. The essay is great too, though I'm not sure what a "non-directed, abstract experience" is, which is just as well, I'm sure you'd agree, I'll get more out of it by just looking at the art than trying to understand the words. Thanks

Carol Diehl said...

Hmmm. Thanks Rob, for pointing out what's not clear, which means I have to work just a little harder.

Cojo said...

You weren't kidding when you named this blog. Kudos Carol!

martha miller said...

Ha ha. Yes, you did. Your statement, and painting, bring to mind the work of Portland artist Hilary Irons...check her out;

http://hilaryirons.com/artwork/746149_Traintracks.html

deb said...

Giggling...

Jhon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lily said...

I agree, and I am intrigued by the painting.

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

So nice to run into you and get to read your blog!