art letter | no. 7. 2019 | September
When I am asked, “What are your paintings trying to say?” I reply, half-teasing, “The moment one of my paintings starts to say anything, I’ll turn it into a still-life. That’ll shut it up.” The fact is that I am uncomfortable with the notion that art needs to make a “statement” and that artists need to intend a message. Mine doesn’t and I don’t. Clearly, my work reflects something about me at the time it is made, but I’ll be damned if I know or care what it is.
This painting is “Landscape with Four Houses.” For several months I have been wrestling with her, pulling her nature from a flat surface of shapes and pigments. She has bedeviled me, emerging in fits and starts—without either the guidance or the limitations of a plan.
Landscape with Four Houses – David Slader
What am I looking for? There must be some reason why so many creative decisions are erased and why it can take months of trial and error until I am satisfied enough to scratch my name in the paint. A painting that works asks you to ask, to stop, wonder and inquire: Have we met? Join me for a dram of Scotch? It becomes a character in a story—and once that painting is off my easel, it lives only through the person looking at it.
But, how does it all start?