(Moving Stripes, Philip Buller)
“I apply paint, remove paint – creating and obscuring forms. A form must be fully realized before it can be obscured. The ambiguity of a blurred image often encourages me to reach below a literal interpretation of form.
When this happens, it is less possible to grab onto a specific image and I am then compelled to remain within the realm of experience rather than the realm of reproduction. In this process my own engagement as a viewer guides me toward receiving the image rather than identifying it by naming it or placing it in a psychological or historical context…”
What makes this process so challenging for me is that the evolution of the paintings themselves seems to resist conscious intention, and yet my desire is to access my own direct experience of them. I have faith that the meaning, if there is any at all, will emerge in it’s own time, leaving me with an awareness that the work cannot be hurried. When the painting is resolved, I feel as though something has arrived, like a fruit in an orchard, visible as an organic thing. In such moments I know that the painting is itself the meaning.
When I am engaged in the painting process, I am of course conscious of the sensations, thoughts, and associations. But rather than following them into the quagmire of willful, even enthusiastic intention toward constructing a certain meaning, I try to instead wait to be touched in a certain way; my feelings have to be stirred. Anything could spark deep feelings, but at this time, the human form seems to be the most direct pathway.
On those occasions when immersion in my intuitive experience is not working, when the whole process becomes most maddening, I am grateful to rely completely on the discipline of my painting practice. When I don’t know what to do, I simply deepen my commitment to applying paint to canvas.” –Philip Buller