Albert Pinham Ryder, “Under a Cloud” (1900). It’s easy to forget, after these many years, what a painting can do. I remember being struck, looking now at this Ryder, I remember being struck as a young painter, by paintings. I mean hit by them. And that was new to me. Well, new enough. Somehow the preciousness of that experience gets, not lost, but a bit unclear, out of focus, as the deluge of our culture’s ridiculous details keep crowding in. It’s easy to lose track of the preciousness that form can embody. This is important. It can help us re-navigate north.
I don’t mean to get all existential – or maybe I do — but what does it mean to make a painting? What does it mean to make form and imbue it with power? What are we talking about here? And at this point in time, at this point in history, do we have the wherewithal to look at what’s going down in the world, and in spite of it all, to strike deep and have our images count? What would that look like? I don’t claim to know, but the hour is late tonight and the wine has risen and I guess it seems like the time to write something from my heart. You know how that can be —