In painting, the less emphasis given to predetermination, the more likely something larger than one’s concept or idea will emerge. And that larger expression is what reaches beyond the painter’s life with the painting. It is a universal quality, evidence or traces of spirit, so to speak. This spiritual evidence is the real life of the painting and, is what keeps the painter at the task of painting. David Teachout 12-09-82
There is the idea about the painting, and then there is the painting. The painting cannot be the idea about it, but must become an embodiment, and expression, a physical manifestation of the originating inspiration. Dvid Teachout 01-05-83
Realism’ and ‘Abstraction’ in Painting: Once paint is used to create an impression of being something other than paint then abstraction exists, The most ‘abstract’ painting is one in which the paint is used to describe something other than itself. Thus, so called ‘realistic’ painting is really the most ‘abstract’, and so called ‘abstract’ painting the most real. David Teachout 08-08-87
The result of the activity called painting is an object called a painting. A painting is conditioned by materials and techniques and the propensities of the painter. Paintings usually evoke referential responses from the viewer. Can a painting prompt no references except to itselt? Can a painting be only self referential?
The objective, then, is to paint in such a way that creates paintings which have no refernce to anything beyond the immediacy of their physical presence. These paintings could be called ‘real’, as they require no mental abstractions in order to apprehend them. Paintings that are referential could be called ‘abstract’, for they require memory associations and knowledge to be seen. David Teachout 10-28-87
When I was in Hawaii in early 1977, Lahainam Maui in a little park by the ocean in front of the library, I wrote that my deep desire was to paint a painting, a sublime painting. How this was to happen I did not know. Still, this inner urge persisted to realize with color on canvas a form whose origin arose from a pre–rational unconditioned state. To make visibe the invisible; to fly without wings.
The word sublime is both an adjective and a verb. The first definition of the verb form catches the spirit of the word. “To cause to pass directly from solid to the v apor state and condense back to solid form.” All the other definitiions speak of higher and lower implying hierarchy. I see the work as describing a process which passes from one state to another; from the universal to the particular; from the expanded to the contracted; from the relative densities of spacious energy to the condensation of energy into mass. A visualform that evokes an expansive response, opening the viewer to the realm which is its source.
Is this painging a picture of another reality? A reality visited by the painter and than re-membered in ordinary reality. Or, is the painting itself sublime—self referential—a picture only of itself, with no interpretation of either outer or inner landscapes? Perhaps, painting such a painting is less in revealing a vision than, in an analogous way, making a stone.
What is this urge to create? is it a memory dimly, but constantly felt of this individual’s journey into consciousness and form? Is this action an echo of genetic evolution from nothing into something? Is there in the individual creative act a holographid formulation which holds the universe enfolded within it?
These words can only reveal a tendency, a reachiing from deep in the well for a sky sensed as much as seen. It is obvious that the intellect must serve this endeaver, it must serve an impulse more fundamental that itself. All attemps to begin within the field of intellect will deny the sublime, Is this true? David Teachout 10-30-91
Santa Cruz, California
The Santa Cruz Series had its origins in the Window Series paintings on paper beginning in 1980.
The diagonal line appeared in the Santa Cruz paintings early on, sometimes as the limit of an area of coclor, but just as likely traversing the field of color, Power lines that had a negative connotation to me as visual pollution, had one day, been seen without prejudice. The lines, in my eyes, merged with space, were integral to color field of space that they traversed. And the lines changed color in the changing light of the day. They were no less important than any other object in view. In the beginning these lines in nature influenced the composition of a painting. But as the series evolved the lines became pure artifacts whose only reference was to the particular painting they inhabited.
There was never an intention to evoke a spatial illusion with diagonal lines. Yet, for those viewers who associate a diagonal angling through an area of color as creating ‘space’, let them enjoy their association with optical trickery. In the contest of the Santa Cruz series, this may be important for others but not for the artist.
As the series progressed the idea arose that the diagonal lines could be the primary form expressed within the overall color field of the painting and that the recilinear associations to the shape of the canvas itself could be echoed by the presence of squares defined primarily by their diagonals rather than by their perimeters.
If one allows associative thinking to privail, then the diagonals could have emotional and symbolic meanings. In the creation of the paintings such was not the case in the mind of the artist. But, inevitably there will be a tendency toward association and abstraction by viewers unaware of the self referential nature of the paintings.
The two diagonals that define a square, that form an X,,could imply a crossing out, a rejection of the paintingm or more generally, a rejection of painting in this manner altogether.
The marking of an X in the appropriate box is characteristic in the paper work of the bureaucratic world that so dominates our lives. There could be the association to the X signature of a person who cannot write but ony draw, X marks the spot on treasure maps drawn by pirates.
Association could be made to the structural integrity of right angled planar forms in building (or in the structure of the stretcher bars of a painting), which require diagonal members to ensure structural stability.
Spacial, symbolic and structural associations have little importance to me. I see the Santa Cruz Series paintings that evolved from the Window Series, which utilized the immediate physical landscape for inspiration as evolved two-dimensional images that as the series developed became devoid of references to the landscape that had given then birth.
As the series evolved there was an increasing preoccupation with the two diagonals of a single square that filled most of the visual field. The process of searching for the definitive diagonals of a particular square, was achieved by a layering of transparent paint and an opposite covering up or painting out in a selective manner. Thus, the diagonal lines that forned an X, as well as other lines in the painting were generally resultant of a painterly process rather than simply drawn upon the surface. Consistent with my interest in exploring color fields without focal points, a desire to create an ‘all overness’ and the absence of the contrast of figure and ground, or at least the creation of ambiguity, I created then destroyed or altered, and created again until these repeated applications of paint resulted in a painting that felt ‘right’
In later Santa Cruz series the crossing diagonals separated resulting in upper and lower V shaped lines that replaced, or evolved from the X associated with the search for the square. Earth/sky, mountain/cloud, up/down, ascending/descending, yin/yang, etc., could be associated with this form. However, for the painter, there is a more fundamental view.
Beyond the formal structure of the painting color considerations are primary. And, more deeply and much more difficult to atriculate, is the feeling of being an organic part of an evolutionary creative movement, in which objects we call paintings manifest as resultants of a process that is mostly a mystery.