Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Theory of Now (and Later)


The Painting Displacement Phenomenon. I observe it in the gallery time and again, much to my ambivalence. What happens is: an artist brings in something new, something exciting, something wonderful they've just completed. They're really excited about this painting. It's new and it opened a door for the painter, a door to a place they'd never been. The world looks different to them because of this painting. We too get excited about the painting! It starts to open doors for us as well. We look at that painting and our view of the world is altered. Across the street, the sunlight hitting the head of the brown-haired girl walking out of the parking garage is turning her hair, for a moment, this absolutely neon yellow. Our excitement is contagious; it begins to magnetize people off the sidewalk. The gallery door swings open. And again. People walk right up to that new painting. They LOVE it. They have just the wall. They bring their friends in to take a look. The friends, they love it too. It looks like this painting will sell right away!

But the painting doesn't sell just yet. Several days pass. So we rifle through the older paintings in the back room, dust one off--one which was once the New, Exciting Painting. We hang the Former New, Exciting Painting right beside the Current New, Exciting Painting. The next person that walks in the door walks right up to the Current New, Exciting Painting. Yes, they LOVE it, but then...their head begins to turn in the direction of the Former New, Exciting Painting. They show interest in that one now. Considerable interest. They take their glasses off and clean them and put them back on and look again. They step back to get a different perspective. They walk through the rest of the gallery, carefully considering the other paintings, taking the glasses off and putting them on. From time to time, they sigh. Then they're drawn back to the older painting. They sigh. They confide they have just the wall that has been waiting a LONG time for this painting. They really have to have it. And the funny thing is when they came into the gallery, it was just a whim, they weren't really shopping for art. It seems like a destiny thing--do we take American Express?

Don't ask me why. All I know is The Painting Displacement Phenomenon happens. Albert Scharf, who paints exceedingly beautiful skyscapes, has noticed it too. He talks about "bringing in something new to push something old out."

Well, I had the pleasure today of seeing my new "Spirit of the Afternoon" push out my older "Theory of Now." And high time too. When I brought in "Theory of Now" late last November, we were so excited about it, we called the show we were hanging then "Theory of Now." Every painting from that show sold pretty quickly, except for one...that one languished in its unsold state for almost ten months. Measuring 40 inches by 30 inches, "Theory of Now," pictured above, is at last custom-packaged in bubble wrap and corrugated, industrial-strength cardboard and awaits pickup by DHL for the fully-insured journey by air to its long-awaited proper home in Colleyville, Texas. Martha and Jerry, my latest collectors, have just the predestined spot that was waiting for it all along. "How long will it take to get there?" they ask.

2 comments:

John M. Feagan said...

Hey, San -- I just wanted to express my appreciation for your marvelous paintings. Me like. More, more, more please. Theory of Now (and Later) is the super- continent Pangea breaking up to form the world we now inhabit. Is it sorry it did that? And Spirit of the Afternoon evokes the Halloweens of my long ago (LONG ago) youth, when the spectral presences about to emerge reflected more of healthy imagination and innocent excitement than the genuine menaces of today's reality. Happy Trails...

San said...

John, I actually considered calling "Theory of Now" "Continental Drift," so we are most definitely seeing it from a similar place. Cool!

And it makes me happy to know that "Spirit of the Afternoon" evokes a personal memory for you, especially one of good spirits.

Your comment made my day--thanks!