My paintings tend to develop over a period of time, usually through a “Stream of Conscious” process that is not entirely random so much as inspired, whether by  intuition, catharsis, or a premeditated idea that roots and metamorphoses into a finished piece. On rare occasions, however, I find myself paralyzed by an image I’ve created, having lost the connection between it and myself. And those moments never cease to astonish me, because how can one create something that is so far removed from his/her own understanding.

As I contemplate one of these particular pieces, I’ve decided to take an analytic approach to understanding it. I found a pen and paper and began a line of questioning that was really no more than internal dialogue, though written, to stimulate a chain of reasoning. But in doing so, the questions opened up a different kind of dialogue in me.

I initially directed my questions at the work itself, asking, “What are you trying to say to me? Or about me?”, because I do believe that every artist’s work is a self portrait in some way. But I found not answers in the irresolute faces that were looking back at me from the paper, smudged in charcoal to hide their shame.

So I asked myself instead, “What am I trying to say?”, for which I had no reply, half ashamed myself for having depicted these fragile figures half undressed.

Finally, I asked a hypothetical, attempting to play the role of an unassuming observer who happened upon the work. “What do you see?” And I felt further away from an answer than when I started.

As ridiculous as this all seems (and trust me, I too shook my head in disappointment), three (more important ) questions surfaced.

Is it possible to create a work of art that is completely unbiased in its creation?

I honestly don’t know. But I would hope so.

Is all artwork unavoidably subjective, regardless of its intended purpose or meaning? Or, more to the point, are any of us actually able to see beyond our own projections (in anything, including other people), no matter how noble our attempts to try and understand the object of our observation?

A wise friend of mine once told me that we can only recognize in others what we have discovered in ourselves.

If that’s true… Does not knowing what the painting is about make it better, having escaped an agenda?

Not necessarily. Although I do believe, on the contrary, that if you have to tell the world that you’re In Love… You’re probably not (figuratively speaking, of course). However, with this painting, I simply don’t know. I only see incomprehensible shapes trying to make sense of themselves the way we do each and every day, yearning to fit together, but never quite able to figure out how.

Part of me is tempted to simply paint these questions directly onto the piece and let the audience decide for themselves what any of it means. But I’ll have to get back to you one that one.

For now… I’m just avoiding having to look at the d@mn thing.