Emotions recall colours. Colours recall emotions. Look left and look right and you will see various things. One of the major reasons we can tell one object from another is the shape of a colour difference. Combined with binocular vision and depth perception, the separation of vision into disparate parts is reliant on differences of shape and colour shade. Even in black and white, the changing shades of grey or the shapes of the black / white are what allow discernment. The learning curve for discernment takes several years, but there comes a point where it is so automatic that even a new object, room, a new vista or city has the familiar aspect of being comprehensible. Photographs of the Mars desert likewise share this.
There seems to be some truth to the phrases “there is nothing new under the sun; it has all been done before”. In the field of painting, we of the 21st century are not like those Europeans of the previous century astonished at the expressive possibilities of abstract art. We live in an era where Japanese painter On Cora’s simple and bold paintings of mere dates on canvas expand the limits of painting to include invisible current, flow, and logic. Because of mass media and the range of visual representation to which we are subject since birth, we can never be like those Europeans to whom abstract art was so fresh—we can never extinguish the memories and familiarities given to us by our era. So it is easy to be pessimistic about the chances of new painting coming at us to demolish the familiar. This pessimism is a failure of the imagination. There are just very few humans who are fresh enough to overcome mass culture and paint the new. In fact, I strongly believe there are numerous paintings that depart into the radical new: they just have barely been painted. They have never been seen before. How is it possible to paint something that has never been imagined before?
I encountered a large painting that shocked my visual senses and then proceeded to open a whole range of response. The shapes of the painting are delineated by lines and curves of varying colours and shades. The specific combinations in this painting are so fresh that unlike the Mars desert, there can be no quick dismissive assessment. At the same time, in this freshness there is familiar smell and so there is at once recognition within my being, but it is the recognition of an emotion with no name.
Because of this quick cutting freshness and denial of ready assessment, the painting invites active looking, active viewing. The familiar emotion recalled has never been named. It will never be named. An emotion that denies the simple few hundred words we use to communicate feeling. And so the painting’s invitation becomes almost cool and wet, the “fresh” described earlier gives way to “re-fresh,” and the active eye settles into a contemplative gaze. What strange chemistry of line and hue combines to be so inclusive that incomprehension and recognition occupy the same space? In this way the painting has come from a distant galaxy where material objects do not have shape and colour; they have instead only emotion and logic, while the realm of conscious experience is confined to austere solidities. I have never seen a painting achieve this leap.
To say “incomprehensible” is to imply a messy canvas. K’s work is not messy or muddy. What I mean is that the images deny facile assessment.
There is always a deep canyon before us into which we may fall into a palette of possible futures; these paintings by K at once confirm and illustrate the impossible range of this palette. In this, K’s work is abstraction to the limit where the only choice for the visual nerves is to broaden their electrical reach and recall the unnamed and hitherto inexpressible facets of experience. In other words, this abstraction is the very key to their familiarity. I recall the phrase “the logic of emotion,” but some of K’s canvases actually achieve the “emotion of logic,” with highly fraught thought structures that evade language.
The paint is alive and thrashing while (of course) being linear and visually clear. If the paintings are as I describe, then why isn’t K’s more and more in demand? The answer is two-part. For one, K’s work is not in a quiet dedicated gallery. It is as if we were encountering Picasso for the first time on a coffee mug. Right now they are in a café: not an environment to nourish visual receptivity. For two, the work requires—at the very minimum—an open human. That is: a human who has not closed the door to new recognition, radical familiarity, timeless difference, or the possibility of an alternative to their embedded vectors. Humans who have truly overcome solipsism and cultural solipsism. These open humans are not uncommon. It is the duty of anyone whose life it is to deal with the New (new art, new creation, new invention) to constantly demolish any fixed vectors they want to possess.
K’s work is so new, so damn fresh, that a human whose life is dedicated to confirming their own soliloquies does not even have the emotional vocabulary to recognize the genius. Very Great Art of course demolishes these closed doors. If K’s work were in an environment where it could be met on its own terms, then K becomes one of those artists with enough subtlety and strength to open one’s windows to the new. Still, something as new as K’s work requires a vanguard to prepare Average Jan to receive it. I want to be that vanguard. And in the hopes of human service, I look for more people to stand with me to support K. Please email me at email@example.com to discuss this.
I have confidence that the work of K has never been visualized or imagined ever before: it creates its own genre even as it continues the tradition of genius departing from ‘common sense’ to revamp the expressive possibilities of art. The work is the whole of quantum physics, a metaphor for the contradictions of the human spirit, and very beautiful as well. The breadth of the soul of the artist is revealed.