Artist Statement about my present work...
"The Next level of Pop Art"
Paul Rousso 2014
For more on this, see "New Blathering Artist Statement"
Artist Statement about my collage work 2013
The Object as Paint
To me it seems quite logical that eventually in the progression of art, someone would do away with the illusion of three-dimensional space and paint the mountain in the background exactly as the tree in the foreground. Cezanne's work at the time was quite shocking for the viewer of his art, as they had never seen anything like it before.
This is what I refer to as the “flattening”. For me, this is why Cezanne has been called the father of modern art. He painted his landscapes and still-lives as if everything was on the surface of the canvas. A more truthful expression of the subject matter as the surface of the canvas is two-dimensional.
Logically Matisse came along and then Braque and Picasso.
Certainly a lot can be said about these artists, their work and who they influenced, but suffice it to say, the “flattening” continued on in earnest.
This art begat that, and that art begat this.
And in response they did this,which influenced that,etc., so on and so forth.
20th century painting is replete with examples of this underlying concept. Many new things started to happen
in art exponentially, abstraction came along in all of its many forms, as did so many other directions in art.
Another common theme that I believe ties all this figurative work together is that the artist is doing a painting of something.
If the artist is not doing a painting of something that is in and of our world it is very likely that this painting is an abstract painting.
It is unto its self, its own image, not of anything other than what the artist created.
These are the two sides of the coin in painting. The figurative and the abstract.
There are many shades from one end of the spectrum to the other, but everything has an opposite.
I have always searched for what would be the appropriate and direct response to 20th century painting.
How could one respond to the “flattening” and somehow invert it the way, for instance, cubism inverted the realism that came before it?
My work is about finding what comes next.
I started with a “still life of the Bible”.
I applied/sculpted each page in order, from the first page to the last, onto a thirty by eighty inch wood panel.
It isn’t of the Bible. It is the Bible;
it is, the perfect still life.
The medium and the subject have become one.
The three dimensional object was applied in order and completely intact, two dimensionally.
It is total realism and total abstraction.
After a year of thinking about it, I began producing one after the other.
The selection process is ever changing but as of late, the most intense part of the process.
After “choosing” the Bible I stopped thinking and just did what ever fell in front of me. I would get up from the table after reading my Sunday Times and "do it." Someone would hand me a magazine and I would "do it." A friend one day handed me a book about one of my favourite artists. You get the picture. Soon, that serendipitous method gave way to recognizing what would look fabulous, which than gave way to what would be personally hard for me to part with. Things, for one reason or another, I have schlepped around for as much as thirty years.
All of these important documents to me for one reason or another were now the subject of most of my new work; it was a lot of paper and ink.
My latest works involve any and all documents. They are created ascetically and without regard to specific documents. The subject is the paper,
and the paper is the paint. I always felt it was more like painting than doing a collage. Different papers and inks do different things, and in that I have found a new language. My voice as it were.
That which brought us out of the dark ages, the printed word, which also began with the Bible on Guttenberg’s press is definitely in its final death knell. After hundreds of years of the printed word, ink on paper, is on it’s way out.
Soon there will be no new magazines, no newspapers, no new books, everyone will have their reader, I-pad etc., to which they can download whatever they want, whenever they want, where ever they are. The last paper and ink to go away will likely be our paper currency.
Perhaps the audience for my work is only just being born.
Paul Rousso 2011