Besides being a conservative commentator, I am an artist. I studied art in college and have made paintings, drawings, sculptures and constructions my entire life, up to the present day.
I have rarely exhibited my work but hope to exhibit more in the future.
My art is based in two things – a love of drawing (human forms, portraits, plants, landscapes etc.) and, through the lessons learned in drawing, I make paintings, paper cutouts and constructions of very simple forms that capture the expression of nature.
Because even the simplest twig or leaf is a dynamic form. And throughout history artists have sought to capture that natural dynamic in their work. Otherwise the art looks stiff or “wooden”, the sign of an amateur.
If you want to find out what this dynamic is, try to draw a leaf. See if you can make it come alive on paper. You will find out how truly challenging it is even though it would seem like a very simple task.
This is the same challenge that I confront with my forms – to make a very elementary form seem alive by infusing it with something inscrutable, a type of energy that cannot be measured but only sensed.
Consider architecture, which is the integration of simple geometric forms. Yet some architects are considered “great” simply because they have an innate sense for those forms, how to make them come to life and interact with each other.
You might call my art “abstract” but that is a negative term that means “not clear” or “not concrete”. It also has been called “non-objective” but that too is negative.
I call my art “forms” because that is a positive, direct description of what it is.
It is said that the artist or novelist tells us about the essence of things, that he boils down the cosmos into a personal expression for the viewer/reader to better comprehend the world.
That is my intent with my forms. They look very simple but in fact they are full of life, meaning and content. They are my forms. They are specific, original, ideal and universal. They hew to order, proportion, harmony and balance.
This type of art is certainly not like a Renaissance painting. It is a completely different type of art. I like to say that my forms explore art on the molecular level, that they address the underlying structure of art and the way that we perceive the world.
Because the visual world, through which humans get most of their information, is made up of an infinite variety of forms. And those forms reveal themselves and interact in myriad ways to influence us.
I long have loved circles because they are such elementary forms. And I have sought to give them a unique identity in my art which is a challenge since we assume that we know everything about circles.
One of the stories that always has reaffirmed for me the significance of circles is ultimately very sad. It is about the legendary Greek mathematician Archimedes who lived in what is now Sicily around 100 BC. Sicily was under Roman rule at the time and Roman soldiers were instructed not to harm Archimedes, that he was a brilliant man.
Well, the story goes that Archimedes was summoned to appear before the magistrate. And when a soldier arrived at his home to escort him, the great man was in his courtyard which had a smooth dirt floor where he customarily worked. He had drawn some circles in the dirt and was pondering a mathematical concept when the soldier arrived.
He told the soldier, “Please don’t disturb my circles.” Those were his last known words. Because for some reason on the way to the court the soldier became angry and killed Archimedes.
Here are just a few of my artworks with a brief caption under each:
Here is a painting called Red Target from 2002. It is 24 inches tall. Is it a ‘target’ or just a set of concentric circles? It could be many things. I like the contrast between the fine plywood veneer surface and the painted rings, and the color contrast.
This is a construction from 1981, Free Standing Target, made of thin masonite, very lightweight. It is 48 inches tall. Real art should always be light, should appear weightless as nature does.
Wood is a wonderful medium. It is easy to work with, is endlessly expressive and has a nice warmth. This is Wooden Blocks Forms of 2012. As arranged it is 36 inches tall. The viewer can arrange the blocks any way that he/she desires. The blocks are made up of three significant forms – the square, the Golden Rectangle and the 9:4 Rectangle.
Here is Biomorphic Form from 2001. It is 18 inches tall. The curved line is drawn in a single stroke by hand and the straight lines use a ruler. You might think that it would be easy to make something like this over and over, but I could try to draw this form again all day and I might never succeed. Does this form suggest anything to you? Or many things?
Rock Cliff, 24 inches tall, is from my first year of drawing in 1973. I think that it captures the cliff very nicely with a vibrant energy. Rocks are fun to draw because they are infinitely variable and these rocks exist halfway between a geometric world and the organic one.
Here is a drawing, Chrysanthemum, from 2004. The artist must be very observant and patient to describe the natural energy of a flower. The modernist artist Piet Mondrian said it well: “Nature cannot be copied; it can only be expressed.”
Here is a portrait drawing, Dozing Model, from 2011. It is 18 inches tall. I like to try and capture something different other than just the straightforward portrait. I found the model’s disposition very charming, with her eyes closed.
This is Paper Cutout Forms from 2003. It is 18 inches tall. I made it by cutting out the forms randomly, freehand, in quick swipes with an X-acto knife, not using any template. Then I laid the white paper on a black background. The forms are very direct and focused and precise. What do they remind you of? It could be many things.
This is Model in Light and Shadow, 24 inches tall, from 2012. Leonardo da Vinci said that the artist must learn about light and shadow in order to truly understand form. Naturally he was talking about voluminous form, like the human body, not flat geometric form.
Here is Folded Blue Paper Piece from 2006. It looks like it is ready to leap off of the table. It is 16 inches long. I have done many works with paper, which is the most dynamic medium of all.
This is Wooden Construction, 12 inches tall, from 2002. This is not glued together in any way. It is free-standing.
Here is Snowstorm Painting of 2001. You might agree that it well captures the natural dynamic of a snowstorm.This is an "environmental art work" that I did in 1982. I made a big circle on a piece of plastic and hung it from a bridge, just to see what a known figure like a circle could become when blown up and acted on by natural forces.Here is Two Paper Cubes of 2002. I wanted to make cubes out of paper to see what configuration they might take with the dynamic material of paper. This work is 6 inches tall.This is a small "maquette" (model) called Red, Yellow and Blue Forms of 2009. It is 8 inches tall. Someday I would like to make this in full scale, perhaps human-sized.Here is a drawing I made for a "slab" skyscraper design. I would be nice if it were 50 storeys tall, not too big and not too small.This is a small work on paper, Six Squares of 2006. It shows the basic colors in a basic format, the square.