a college student I felt silenced by art history professors.
Abstraction was all the rage and realistic painters were laughed
out of the Academy. Art was supposed to be about formal elements
alone: line, color, form. As Tom Wolfe observed in The Painted
Word, in the 1970's modern art had moved away from storybook
realism. "Then we got rid of representational objects, Then
we got rid of the third dimension altogether and really got flat
(Abstract Expressionism.) Then we got rid of airiness, brushstrokes,
most of the paint, and the last viruses of drawing and complicated
Influenced by my Unitarian-Universalist background, I was not
interested in making art that conformed to the dictates of art
theory. I felt called to create, but I was a nineteenth century
painter in a post modern world.
my university had a partnership with the art school next door
so I was able to take classes that explored Art's wider purpose.
In a Chinese painting class I was introduced to the idea of a
painting as a portal to the natural world. I was drawn to lush
landscapes with a solitary monk walking through. The beauty of
the mountains and forests put human concerns in perspective.
This professor taught a Contemporary Art class that included
outsider artists. From him I developed a life-long preoccupation
with the work of box-maker, Joseph Cornell. I was drawn to art
that could transport me into a more expansive consciousness.
me there," sings Greg Brown in "One Cool Remove."
I hope that these images will take you out of your everyday concerns
and put you in a more serene place.