Knees

I did this drawing yesterday. Overlapping the figures seems a little arbitrary.  Like the placement and poses are unrelated, maybe too random.  I still like the way it looks, but originally I was planning on editing them out to turn them into one form; I haven’t been doing that.  I was thinking that doing this might help in creating the shapes and forms in my paintings, but right now I seem to be focusing more on expanding my color and breaking away from drawing through the use of paint- which is hard. I’ve always felt that my paintings are a little over reliant on drawing, which is okay, but I am interested in exploring more of the other side of the medium as well. I keep questioning how much I should make use of real life observational reference points in the painting.  I like to use them as a way of entering the painting, and also as a way of questioning what things are, but I feel the need to find a balance; I think if you give someone something too recognizable it can so easily solidify wonder into fact.

Something that does interest me about this drawing is the small study of a knee, at the bottom of the page.  The knee is such a strange part of the body- it feels like a dead end, or a juncture that reroutes.  I like how inherently abstract it is; I don’t really know where a knee starts or ends, especially when looking at one covered in skin and flesh.  In this study, it’s also isolated and removed from the body. On first glance you might not recognize that it’s a knee.  These are the kinds of shapes and forms I think I’m looking for in my paintings. It’s related to the animation as well, where there’s this abstracted, isolated organ.  I like the idea of removing something from it’s original context in order a see it in a new way, but after examining it for awhile begin to rethink what it’s original context was.  The meaning of a thing changes through its use.

“The Women (for those of you who don’t know, he’s referring to his paintings known as the Women series) became compulsive in the sense of not being able to get hold of it – it really is very funny to get stuck with a woman’s knees, for instance. You say, “What the hell am I going to do with that now?”; it’s really ridiculous.  It may be that it fascinates me, that it isn’t supposed to be done. A lot of people paint a figure because they feel it ought to be done, because since they’re human beings themselves, they feel they ought to make another one, a substitute. I haven’t got that interest at all. I really think it’s sort of silly to do it.  But the moment you take this attitude it’s just as silly not to do it…”

-Willem De Kooning  (from and interview with David Sylvester 1963)

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