First Independent Gallery
Bergamot Station G6
2525 Michigan Avenue Santa Monica, CA  90404
tel: 310.829.0345  fax: 310.829.7612
email: fig@figgallery.com
Wed-Sat, 11-5 & by appointment


HOME  |  ABOUT FIG  |  EXHIBITION SCHEDULE  |  MAP  
Joe Blaustein
April 16 May 17, 2014

 


Looking into the Void

A few months ago, in Italy, in the Uffizi gallery blue room in the far left corner, 
I saw  a Rembrandt self portrait painted in his last year-- freely brushed, eyes looking into the void... reacting to the inexorable. Picasso, centuries later, emulated it.  Nearing his life’s end, Beethoven musically did so in music, in a glorious late quartet, the 131st, as did Shostakovich in his last quartet, the 15th—

At 3 AM, now in my tenth decade, demons wake me --sit on my chest like beasts in Fuseli paintings, demons of lost wives, lost friends, lost mentors, lost hearing, teeth, vigor….demons of mortality. In daylight I exorcize the demons, or rather, use them-- A zillion years ago I read Pope’s “Essay on Man” and remember the lines…”the proper study of Mankind is Man” or, “born to die”, or “drop into thyself and be a fool”, or all of the above….so I paint the dread—the astonishment, reflected in improvised faces. Either I’m such a narcissistic sumbich, or maybe because I see my visage every day in the bathroom mirror, some of these faces—all made up—no looking mama-- more or less look like pieces of me, though they’re generic.

In terms of the actual work, I relinquish finesse in favor of reactive bursts.  Some feel right immediately, some are worked and re-worked ad infinitum, losing and regaining the impulse that prompted them.  Prescient or oblivious,  anthropomorphic ducks and dogs—old friends--- sneak in to join, either in simpatico or derision, and I become a detached audience of my own fears-- and  in the light of day, they make me laugh.

 

Or let me say it more simply…

I suffer from a serious case of weltschmerz,
Which makes my legs leaden and my eyes burn,
So—
I transfer my symptoms on canvas
... into faces of old men,
As antidote.    

Looking into the Void 1, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 44 x 60
Looking into the Void 1,2013, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 44 x 60"

 

…And So On, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 44 x 60
…And So On, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 44 x 60"

 

Look into the Black My Dear, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 44 x 60"
Look into the Black My Dear, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 44 x 60"

 

Max, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 44 x 60
Max, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 44 x 60

 
     
 

 


Looking into the Void 2, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 44 x 60"

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT FIG  |  EXHIBITION SCHEDULE  |  MAP
First Independent Gallery • Bergamot Station G6 • 2525 Michigan Avenue • Santa Monica, CA  90404
2014© FIG