I think about art because I have to. I am making it, and I believe that any artist who doesn’t understand where he is in his work, and what the options are, is left without a road map in the fog. It isn’t always done in words, but every artist has to do this.
Earlier this year the great painter Gabriel Laderman passed away. His passing was marked by several moving rememberences and tributes that focused, as they should, on Laderman’s paintings. But Laderman also left behind an important record – his blog where he posted his thoughts about the art of painting. His blog, bearing the simple title “Gabriel Laderman on Art,” represents the best of what blogging can be – personal, thoughtful reflections and opinions based in real experience.
Laderman’s blog is reminiscent of the off-line journals of other important painters; Délacroix’s journal, Myron Stout’s journal, and Redon’s To Myself come to mind. Laderman’s blog is full of ideas for artists, particularly those beginning careers. He provides a fresh, healthy outlook on the artistic practice that eschews cynicism and careerism.
Laderman is uncannily clear in his thoughts about the basic questions of painting, in particular the simulatenous need to engage with the history of painting while pursuing one’s own original voice. In The Important Issues, Now… he writes:
“The necessity in one’s own work to make a connection between our understanding and some part of the heritage of artistic concerns and capabilities which is all over our past, before 1950. We must also make connections with the processes of conscious metaphoric construction. Knowing it when we see it is not enough. We have to be able, ourselves to make up procedures for developing it in our work.”
Laderman’s blog is a crucial piece of writing by a significant painter, one who knew the value of recording the experience of being an artist. Five posts that struck me as interesting entry points follow, but I recommend starting here at the first post and reading the entire blog at http://gabrielladerman.typepad.com/
From Gabriel Laderman on Art
- October 15, 2006 – What we bring with us and what we should bring with us.
- November 3, 2006 – Part III. What the Issues Are.
- November 23, 2006 – What are the issues [a Preparation] Part IV.
- December 29, 2006 –The Important Issues, Now…
- April 21, 2007 – Poetry, Imagery and the future of painting.