I suppose what I want to create is a mood that might involve intimacy and detachment at the same time.
A few days ago Lani and I were talking about what meanings her paintings and my paintings have. What they convey beyond the image we see there. What the narrative suggests. Lani’s paintings often have more elements that carry meanings in terms of symbolism than do mine. Tarot cards, for example, have given meanings. My paintings have very few such objects. In slide lectures I have not talked much about meaning in this sense. I tend to focus on the underlying structure, or composition, of my paintings and how I work with that intuitively, not basing the structure on any traditional systems. Composition has always been very important to me. What one can read into the image I leave to the viewer. I do, however, include such things as letters and envelopes. That started long ago when those were put in for compositional reasons. A rectangle sitting in perspective on the floor can also hold the plane of the floor. And then I became interested in how a letter on a table or on a chair, or in the hand of a person in a painting suggests a communication from someone somewhere outside the space depicted, perhaps in another city or country. What the letter says can’t be seen, but one sees that it exists and it has this kind of meaning.
Furniture, walls, windows describe the space in which the figures live. The kind of room I make in a painting might suggest intimacy, but my figures tend to have a detached sense, while at the same time they share a space. That detached aspect of figures is what I seem to have to create. That and stillness, or quiet. Intimacy is there, the way a quiet space can suggest intimacy; or the way a naked figure together with another figure might suggest intimacy and carry possible meanings one might read into a painting. But, then again, nude figures have been part of paintings throughout the history of art. We can understand and accept them on a level that is different from what we might read into the context of two figures in a room in reality, not in a painting. I suppose what I want to create is a mood that might involve intimacy and detachment at the same time. And I want paintings to reveal their meanings slowly, a little at a time, and always changing. That is what I think good paintings do. So, for me meaning should be elusive while at the same time it wants to be known.