Sunday, July 3, 2011

Belonging ... IS ... figure/ground

We lived in France for several summers and a sabbatical of eight months in various rented houses and, lastly, for nearly 2 years in this house in Normandy:

And through it all, we had always felt ... French.  But that wasn't right, exactly, and we didn't quite fit.  We sold the house and the car and some of the furniture and came back to the U.S., this time to the West Coast, where we had family but no real history, yet.  And, while we all know it isn't any use not moving, moving, all by itself, is interesting in a peculiar sort of way and it can make you question ... everything. California? Connecticut or New York?  where, exactly, does a person belong? I have talked about the idea of belonging here, before (March 26th and 28th, for example) but I find now that I have an artistic response...

I wrote about Francis Bacon and figure/ground on May 19 ... I do think that the idea may have been to paint all the anguish into the figures on canvas ... but I do think the ground needs its fair share of that tortured linear movement. Sometimes it is the air around the figure that moves. And it came to me in a flash that, really, figure/ground, anguish and stillness, rest and flux: these are all terms about belonging.  Really ... think about it.

And so the series of paintings that I am starting is not so much about juxtaposition ... but belonging, and figure/ground. A ground sliced by a figure, or competing for attention with the figure.  I played with one of these, the picture posted June 28th, today:

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