You know you're at a New York Art World schmooze-a-thon when every person you meet tells you what they're obsessed with. "Hi, my name is Tanya, and I'm obsessed with pink." "I'm Gordon; currently I'm obsessing upon the interaction of architectural structures with the interlay of the multi-ethnic psyche." "Edmund Fecund. You've heard of my father, the Famous Painter, Louis Fecund. I'm obsessed with painting. And sculpture. Both."
This sort of thing has become my new definition of "poseur." True obsessives are not at art parties; they're at home, rolling in pink paint, or writing unreadable treatises on the interaction of architectural structures with the multi-ethnic psyche. We all know this. Art world people tell you their 'obsessions' because they're desperately trying to be taken seriously as artists. A total lack of balance, perspective and sanity has now become the required state of consciousness for anyone who hopes to catch the eye of a Big-ass Dealer, let alone get a write-up in Art in America.
This is tragic. What does it say about our society and culture, when anyone who wants to make a name as an artist feels compelled to lay claim to mental illness?
The Van Gogh syndrome has gotten completely out of hand. Poor old Vince himself was a model of wisdom and psychological equilibrium, compared to what is expected of artists these days. We are driven to stake out an obscure aesthetic/conceptual niche and pursue it to ridiculous extremes, at the expense of nearly everything else, except art parties.
Is this helpful? Is it worthwhile? Is it even interesting?
As you may have noticed, I have been drawing some mandalas, lately. I would not go so far as to say that I am obsessed with them; I am, however, doing a lot of them, for no other reason than that I feel compelled to do so. As I work, I notice myself re-learning some principles of classical design, even of architecture; the balance between geometric and organic form, between symmetry and torsion, tension and harmony.
Mainly, though, I would call this a meditative process. Meditation is different from obsession in that it is a process of emptying, not filling; expansion, not narrowing. In all other respects it appears to be the same--a single-minded pursuit of one specific thing. The result, however, tends to be peace of mind, rather than madness.
I have no idea what I am going to do with all of these mandalas, but they look sort of nice pinned up in my studio. They create a nice tension with the big, sloppy, non-symmetrical canvases stacked everywhere.
This one is called, I think, "Crater." I'm not sure what I think of it. Actually, that's not true--I think it is beautiful, but I am not confident that anybody else will see its beauty but me. It's difficult, and perhaps just appears foolish.