Jorge was born in Venezuela. His parents had moved there when Franco won the Civil War in Spain. At about age three, Jorge returned with his Mom and siblings to Barcelona. His Dad continued on in Venezuela where he became very respected and well known in his field, archeology. As for myself, I was born here in West Tennessee and met Jorge in Spain in the late Sixties. We soon started our family and continued to pursue our now united visions of life and art. We lived several years in South America. Then we moved back to Spain and stayed a dozen years, even more, in Figols, a Catalan village in the Pyrennes Mountains. We lived a winter in Crete, another in equatorial Africa. In the late Eighties we moved to Seattle where we rented a large, abandoned machine shop to function as our studio/residence. In 1998 we came to Dyersburg, Tennessee to enjoy being near my relatives and childhood friends. Before the fat lady sings we plan to live and work a good long time in Asia, where neither of us have traveled.
That is about as concise a description of our comings and goings as ever I wrote. I'll ramble on, now, about our work.
The paintings that I will describe were created in the mid-seventies. That was the first decade of our professional production. I consider our professionalism to have begun when I determined to paint first and foremost as an act of will and only secondarily as a response to desire. What on earth do I mean? I mean that in the very late sixties I determined to paint no fewer than three days a week whether I felt inspired to do so or not. At first there were days I could barely force myself to sit down and stay at it for over an hour and a half at a session. Soon, however I was able to grab three-hour sessions and after the children began school my week grew to five day work weeks of five hour days.
Jorge draws the pictures. I paint them. And, I am writing this description of our work. If it seems egocentric, so be it. Jorge and I communicate well but I am not going to try and speak for anyone but myself.
So. Jorge draws the pictures and we communicate about them in such things as how many he will have ready for coloring at any one time. I do not want to feel that they are being eeked out eyedropper fashion, nor do I want to feel burdened by more pictures than I could hope to paint in a year. A picture from this Seventies collection would take somewhere between twenty-five and forty hours to paint. My medium was Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache on heavy paper, generally 300 lb. hot press. Gouache is an opaque watercolor. It is used differently from classic watercolors in that it is not suitable for subtle washes and transparencies. White is mixed with gouache colors to lighten them rather than floating less pigment in the water and letting the white of the paper show through.
I do not know what came first: my enthusiasm for the work of Josef Albers or the discovery that I loved color and hated shading. Practice blending the paint to create the illusion of volumes and place in space had not lightened my pasty hand. My waltz in the woods of artistry is nothing if not the dance of a boxer in the ring. But, when I saw the Albers experiments with color and shape where context conquered matter and determined the perceived size and color of squares within squares, each was like a gong that rang for me.
We have described our work as Post Picasso and I've called it Neo Modernism. There is nothing painterly in my painting. No rhythm of texture, no accident of gesture. For this the drawings must be also constructions. No line can dangle or drift else the paint would wrap it on all sides; devour it, as it were. It is an aspect of the work that gives me considerable satisfaction: the annihilation of the lines as my colors transform the linear composition into a juxtaposition of areas.
I have heard Jorge refer to the narrative elements of the pictures as the logical reversal of Abstract Expressionism. An abstract painting invites the viewer to respond emotionally to the artist's composition and technique without recognition of any person or place represented therein. Jorge's drawings are also an experiment in abstraction for he, like the abstractionist, places the meaning of the picture relative to the viewers' response. He says that the artists of abstract art elicit from the viewer an emotional response to abstract pictorial elements and that he, Jorge, would like the viewer to receive an abstract sentiment from his narrative forms. Writing the long paragraph of descriptive text accompanying Chagall Man I felt the reiteration of the narrative elements begin to roll like the repetitions of a mantra and wished I could resist the temptation to hammer out a meaning.
Jorge and I continue to work in this new millennium with ample variation upon and little disagreement with these ideas with which we began.
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