“The Botany of Desire” Michael Pollan
My Art and It’s Stories:
Michael Pollan’s quote, above, encapsulates for me what I look for in art, what I seek in my own pieces, and explains why the work of some artists is so meaningful to me, while other, equally praised work by others is not.
For me, the quote articulates that balance between mastered technique and the human touch, a balance readily apparent in the works of many of the masters of figurative art, like Rembrandt, Monet, and Sargent, yet indiscernible, to me, in most abstract and modernist works.
When I first read the passage, I was immediately reminded of a trip I’d made to the Bowers Museum in LA, to see a collection of Pharonic and pre-pharonic funeral goods (mummys and grave goods). There was a hand-painted inner coffin on display and while examining up close, I realized that I could see the layering of brushstrokes, the way one stroke of paint overlapped or crossed another, and so, I could trace how the painter’s hand and brush had moved, and to a degree, what order he’d painted the strokes. Suddenly, it was if the unnamed artist was right there with me, and the experience personalized the artwork for me.
In that revelation, something crystallized for me about art, and Michael Pollen’s statement articulated for me. In my works you’ll catch me searching for that balance between perfection and accident, technique and passion, form and ecstasy.
For those familiar with my work, I am shifting my focus away from wildlife to portraits.