Swimming in the Same Waters

I was taking a break from whatever it is I was taking a break from by having a look at one of my few ‘favorite’ web sites, hyperallergic.com, when what to my surprise should appear before my eyes but a paintng by Katherine Bradford, Surfer, from 2015:

Katherine-Bradford-Surfer-2015-Acrylic-on-canvas-72-x-55-inches-182.88-x-139.70-cm

“Hey,” I thought, I coulda done that!” It reminded me a lot of the lastest series of oil pastels I have been working on, the latest of the latest being:

Water Pastel 220116_a

As I discussed in my recent blog post, I was just titling these for convenience as “Water Pastel date“,  which would make this one “Water Pastel 220116_a”, until I started experimenting with alternative titles for the same pieces. For example, maybe this could be “3 Bathers’, or “Not to be parted from cell phone”, or something else that might lead viewers in various different directions… (Feel free to share your own title suggestion as a “comment”)

When I discovered Katherine Bradford’s paintings on hyperallergic.com, I jokingly mentioned to a friend that apparently I was too late, and that the “little-swimmers-in-a-big-pool niche” had already been take. My friend kindly reminded me that there was room in the pool for everyone.

Katherine-Bradford-Blue-Swimmers-2015-Acrylic-on-canvas-60-x-48-inches-152.40-x-121.92-cm

Interestingly, the review of Bradford’s most recent exhibition in NYC mentioned how she had been compared to David Parks, a California painter who once-upon-a-time had a huge influence on me.

David-park-swimmers

Specifically, way back during my first year of graduate school at the Maryland Institute, I went to a show at the Whitney Museum of Art with a friend from San Francisco (at the time, and in fact still today, Parks, who died way to young, was/is not very well-known outside of California). I stood for about 30 minutes in front of the first painting in the exhibition. From the moment I laid eyes on that painting, I understood that I was not going to keep doing what I had been doing any more, because whatever it was I had been trying to do was something someone else (Parks) had already figured out how to do – and to do way better than I ever imagined it could have been done.

In the intervening 25 years, I swam around the world, only to end up in the same water where I started. But of course, as every philosopher knows, now the water itself is different.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Swimming in the Same Waters

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