It's all in the Stroke.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been painting for almost 50 years; every painting a compilation of strokes; brush strokes, smears, scumbles, spatters, scrapes. Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, probably millions of strokes, each one intentional, tactical and strategic. Sometimes I think of them in groups like the subservient components of a thousand finished paintings, or sometimes they appear as a single frantic trail I left behind all in the name of visions I could never quite catch, all of them leaving a kind of uncomfortable audit trail revealing my successes and failures, a record visible to everyone and perpetually subject to judgment, that’s the game, 50 years of rate and comment.

A career built on strokes of paint; sometimes strong, sometime all wobbly. Strokes that physically move the paint, push it, pull it, sometimes just bully paint it into submission, all in the name some current vision I’ve been seduced by, while sometimes, one or two strokes would reveal themselves as a superior alternative, a kind of fully formed vision, elegant and graceful onto themselves. They always seemed to implore me to let it them just stand alone - to give up trying to bend them to some larger purpose.

In the current series I’ve decided to liberate those special strokes, to let them come out and play. To freeze their motion and magnify their reality. To isolate and colorize them. To celebrate their birth on a dedicated web pages. To share their uncanny ability to captivate.

Why go to all of this effort lionizing some scratches and scribbles?  I guess, for the same kind of self-indulgent reason that I think animates all “serious” painters; The exploration of that formal space in painting, a space occupied by all the traditional players like materials, color, value, edge, texture, composition, rhythm and scale. In that space, I’m simply looking for something I’ve never seen.


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All works copyright © 2019 James Knauf.