Image: ©Jerry Walden; detail Reconstructing Deconstructing Jerry #90 (St. Martin) Full image below.
I’m suspicious of “flow” or “inspiration” – don’t trust that, really. Better the itch that urges. Better to be at work if and when such a disposition comes along.
BY JERRY WALDEN
In 2006, I set about to paint over earlier paintings gathering dust in my studio. I started over not by simply rolling white paint but by applying geometric shapes and stripes of color arbitrarily and malleably with a pallet knife, ridding the new work of any reference to anything outside of itself. Shapes and colors in contrasting directions and patterns gave the old paintings new meaning, as each arrived again at self-sufficiency. Out of this process of deconstructing my earlier work there developed a new series of paintings.
Reconstructing Deconstructing Jerry
This process of repainting old work soon resulted in a reconstruction of the deconstruction. In other words, I applied the same process on new rather than used canvas. The resulting work minimizes shapes and patterns in favor of direction and emphasizing color in diagonal stripes. I begin by applying one inch wide masking tape to every other diagonal line in bands that fan out over the surface of the painting.
Each painting is completed without looking at it as a whole, that is, half is painted with randomly selected color while the other half is masked with tape, which is repeated to paint the remaining stripes of unpainted canvas stripes. It isn’t until all of the surface is covered in painted stripes and all tape has been removed that I can look at the painting holistically and determine what can be done to make it into a finished work.
After study, I repaint where stripes need harmony or contrast with changes in hue, value, saturation or temperature chosen critically. For some paintings, this resolution, this Gestalt, is fairly fast, and for others it takes a while to complete.
Once brought to a visual oneness nothing can be added or taken away.
Artist’s web site JerryWalden.com
Artist’s Gallery RHV Fine Art New York
Current exhibition December 11th – January 22nd
RHV 683 6th Ave Brooklyn, NY 11215 (718) 473-0819
Gallery Hours: Thursday – Sunday, 2 – 7pm
Artist Portrait: ©Jerry Walden.
The Magazine of Yoga Six of 1: The Arts Interview
Is being in a flow or a particular kind of space part of creating or part of working for you? Can you describe anything about it – how you get it, what it feels like?
I’m suspicious of “flow” or “inspiration” and the like – don’t trust that really. Better the itch that urges – Kandinsky’s “inner necessity.” Better to be at work if and when such a disposition as “inspiration” comes along; it just might not come along ever, but one is already working. However, painting in a nice studio helps; I got that right.
T.S. Eliot famously said, “There is no method except to be very intelligent.”
Yes, no? Maybe so?
Maybe so, and it was Picasso who said, “When you don’t know what to do, go ahead and do it.”
Is there some place or attitude you begin from in yourself when you look
at art by other people?
I want to like it very much or dislike it very much. Briefly, I can tolerate boredom in me and insincerity in the work of others, but I don’t like it very much, however brief. And I may look and not see … not get it. Generally, I rely on my first impression, which is usually correct and what I remember. I respect works that want to be looked at … meant to be visual, first and foremost.
Reconstructing Deconstructing Jerry #98 (First Blue) ©Jerry Walden
Does anything (consistently/ frequently/ randomly) move you to make art? How did you find yourself making the kind of art or the particular work you are involved in now?
It took years to find myself as a painter and many more to find something more important, that is, paintings that I can bring into being noticeably free of me, of my pretentiousness. I had to fall out of love with the act of painting as content.
In my painting, I make critical choices at the beginning (drawing layout) and at the end (re-coloring of particular areas, eventually narrowing choices dictated by overall impression…the Gestalt). Once realized, that is, seen and sensed in oneness, nothing can be added or subtracted, and the painting exists on its own plane.
Favorite overheard remark
During the afternoon rest period following a large repast at a family reunion, my grandmother said to her assembled daughters and daughters-in-law,
“When your man is young he’ll get his business done, but when he’s old, he’ll worry you all night long.”
I’d rather be…
… fishing, that is, fly-casting with ultra-light rod, weight-forward line and hare’s ear nymphs at tippet’s end … from a john-boat on a little lake (dubbed “Lake Woes-Be-Gone”) … fishing for orange-throated bluegill bream in bedding season.
Half a Dozen of One/ Six of the Other
Six words my gallerist/ artist’s statement/ mother use to describe my work:
Gallerist: “The best work of his long and underexposed career.”
Artist’s statement: “Painting is finally free.”
Six words my best friend would use to describe me:
“I am afraid to ask her” or, six listed another way, “Would I really like to know?”
Six words to repeat:
quixotic, cantilever, sacrosanct, paint, stripes, spacers
Six words to ignore:
boredom, sad, don’t, won’t, can’t, creative
Six artists to look at:
Gentile, Velasquez, Munch, Reinhardt, Kelly, Stella
Six places to find yourself in:
Uffizi, Brooklyn, kitchen, steam room, studio, work
Reconstructing Deconstructing Jerry #90 (St Martin) ©Jerry Walden
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.