|This Is What It
|by Frank Bramblett
|I define painting as
the fluid process of the mind merging with the fluid material of paint to
form a visible invisible. What intrigues me about painting is how paint,
as a common material bearing identical physical facts and visual codes,
can be transformed into meaning. And how a particular method of application
combined with a specific way of seeing might be called a Cezanne. We call
the painting a Cezanne, but the image within the object is a representation
of apples. Our recognition of both the apples and the paint has been rendered
invisible. Is it then not what is invisible, the dead and buried Paul Cezanne,
that is relevant? What is visible as we stare at the frozen paint is the
fluid mind of the artist. In our experience with the painting, have the
real and the cognitive reciprocated? Our mind becomes a surrogate for the
mind of Cezanne. Is the painting "natura morta", or is there "still-life"?
|I smear some paint
on a surface, and it is called an apple. Then, I peel the skin of an apple
and it no longer looks like the smear of paint. Which is now the apple?
At what point does an identity change, or is there truth in an identity?
I paint an artificial apple that is recognized as a depiction of an apple.
Is alluding to an illusion of something that it is not, a deception of an
illusion? I pour a purple spot that should be considered an abstract circular
purple shape. It is next to the apple, and is identified as a plum. If the
purple shape, and not the apple, prompts the viewer to salivate, is this
a false experience? Can the abstract purple shape be convincing enough to
make the rendered apple be viewed as a red circular disc? Would this be
a false-false, or truth?
|I paint what is identified
as bunches of grapes and grape leaves, but it is actually a depiction of
the molecular structure of various caustic chemical compounds combined with
the pawprints of my German Shepherd bounding across the painting. Does the
mastery of technique fool the eye, or does the context fool the mind?
|I spill a pool of cement
that is believed to be paint, but is identified as a cloud. Can reality
become the illusion of an identity of something that it is not?
|In a contiguous surface,
I bury blue dots that, in context, are identified as blueberries. These
dots are arranged as words in Braille. But, the dots have no positive dimension
of form as they are embedded within the marble-like surface of what appears
as a clear blue sky. As the Braille is visual and not tactile, can it convey
its true meaning? Can both our acceptance of an illusion, and our belief
in a reality be questioned simultaneously through the intermediary of painting?
|A painting's black
surface of polished graphite is punctuated with tiny holes that are identified
as constellations in a pitch dark night. A star is a mass of burning gas
whose residue is light that renders objects visible. But in the painting,
light reflects strongly off of the reflective surface turning the painting
into pure light, and negating the sense of objectness of the painting. The
holes, which are empty black voids are now visible. Does painting then not
exist in reality, but can what is real be questioned through the manipulation
of paint? Do the mutations of the mind, which allow paint to depict reality,
conversely not allow a painting to be replicated within the real world?
If reality can be an illusion, and illusion can be real, is reality then
a deception, and an illusion truth?
|Marie Rainier Rilke,
the German poet and philosopher, once described Cezanne's method of depicting
an image as a momentous shift in the way that we define representation.
Rilke formed an analogy to Cezanne's method by rearranging a simple five
word sentence. Prior to Cezanne, artists exclaimed, "This is what it is!"
In rearranging the strokes in depicting an apple, Cezanne asks, "Is this
what it is?" Painting must not become dependent on the seduction of the
politicizing subject, but to remain viable, it may use any subject to question
the very premise of experience. I approach each of my paintings as a separate
essay. I give myself permission to paint what I cannot keep myself from
painting, and wonder. I ask why, in Genesis, is the apple used as the object
with which to deceive?