Go to Triptych
The Triptych combines
painting, sculpture, poetry, calligraphy, woodworking and design. It is intended as proof that "there
is something new under the sun."
This combination of media has perhaps never been attempted on this
scale. Poetry and painting have rarely
been combined in history. Poetry and
painting, both by the same hand, are even rarer. William Blake is one of the only well-known case of successful
combination of the two. His nine-inch
watercolors in Songs of Innocence and Experience inspired me to attempt
a life-size illumination of Harriet's self-elegy~an elegy I had written in
The time of the magnum opus
is not ended. The artist may still
envision, and bring to life, wondrous things, no matter how many times he is
assured by the uncreative that "all that is over."
In part, I created this work as
a blow to the face of Modernism and the avant garde. Primarily I created it for my own personal artistic reasons,
which are inherent in the work and cannot be analyzed without damaging the
mystery necessary to the piece. But its
form was chosen as a statement to the critics and other academics who
now want to control art. I strongly
disagree with all their assumptions and conclusions as to what art is or must
be: its impetus, its definition, its use
to the artist and to society.
In this Triptych, I take
a great historical subject, one that has never before been treated by an
artist, and develop it as richly and fully as I can. The subject, that of the drowning of the poet Shelley and his
first wife Harriet, is timeless in the emotions it evokes and the sexual and
personal difficulties it addresses.
Whether it is politically au courant, whether it addresses the
peculiar needs of the critics or the therapists or the computer literate, is of
no concern to me.
Novelty in art concerns the
need for new subject matter and new treatments. It should not be understood as the destruction of all
conventions, or the undermining of the very forms of expression. Such calls for "the new" are calls
Robert Hughes says in The
Shock of the New, "A cloud of uneasy knowingness has settled on
American painting and sculpture. Its
mark is a helpless skepticism about the very idea of deep engagement between
art and life: a fear that to seek authentic feeling is to display naivete, to
abandon one's jealously hoarded 'criticality' as an artist." Having no interest in such criticality, I
have risked this "naivete," doing just what I deemed necessary to achieve
my ends, without regard to current trends.
Among the "cognoscenti," beauty is passe; the non-pathological
nude is sexist and retrograde; transcendence, a myth; rhyming,
reactionary. For them, all pathos is
bathos. I have therefore embraced all
these "conventions," making them stand in judgment against their
judges. History will decide, as it