PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON ART
“Art is one of the qualities of life that increases by being shared. It is a win-win situation. I became interested in art in a period when I was lonely, in my adolescence, when I couldn’t make or tails of my life and where it was going. I picked up a pencil and pad, and went outside and began to draw. I grew more and then became more interested in painting.”
“Art has since then been for me a way of making a form in a world of ugliness. You don’t escape the ugliness, but you are able to see things in terms of form and pattern, and images. And in this form, there is a harmony, like in my painting of trees. If you looked at those trees in reality, you’d say, `Those are some nice trees,’ and walk on. But when you look at the pastel drawing, you feel more: namely, that the lines and spaces between the trees also have meaning.”
“Art to me is the finding in the world the form of the world, a pattern by which we can answer the questions as to what is ecstasy. Form also has a great deal to do with music; form is really what music is about. Form relates to mathematics because the balance of the harmony of the spheres is also the same kind of harmony as in that painting over there.”
“Form gives me a sense of joy. Harmony is a seductive word and makes people feel everything is okay. Now the artists above all know that everything is not okay. This has a lot to do with why they become artists. Once, after seeing the paintings of Hans Hoffman in a New York City gallery, I thought: `If a human being can produce such beauty, if a human being can assert such courage as it took to make these paintings, then there must be some purpose in human life.’ Then there’s hope for human life, there’s meaning to human life.”
“In California, the beauty is declamatory: every mountain, every wave in the Pacific, every brilliant day shouts out, `See how beautiful I am!’ In New Hampshire, the beauty is more refined. You have to put yourself into it. That’s why it is harder for me to paint in California than in New Hampshire. For art requires an active looking, an energetic throwing one’s self into the scene you hope to paint.”
Rollo May, Nantucket
Rollo May, The Firey Mountain.
Rollo May, Three Palm Trees.
Rollo May, Curling Pine Trees.
“When I make a painting, it gives me a great deal of pleasure. I never know how it will turn out, as no one ever knows. As the colors flow into each other and they fade and merge, there comes a sense that you are participating in the universe. It’s not that you made something pretty, but that you have been able to do on a small scale what God does on a great scale. I don’t mean a personal God; I mean the fact that the planets move in a certain orbit. It’s tremendously greater, but in essence, the same thing as when you or I make a new work that has form to us.”
“Art, therefore, is much more than it seems—much more than pretty stuff, or standing in line for days to see a Picasso exhibit. Our modern society pretends to appreciate art but it really doesn’t. There was this exhibit of King Tut artifacts which was very beautiful, but why are there all these crowds for miles? Do people like art so much? If they appreciated art so much, they also would appreciate life more. They would revolt against the whole idea of making atom bombs.”
(All quotes were from an interview with Linda Conti, published in 1981 by the Humanistic Psychology Institute)
“As the modern man struggles to make out of our chaotic multiverse a harmonious universe, Joseph Binder will be one of the leaders with his paintings of this movement. It will be a movement towards dynamic unity and harmony, a discovery in paint and canvas of the possibilities of a universe.”
(In Joseph Binder, An Artist, and a Lifestyle, compiled by Carla Binder, 1976).
"You don't paint a great picture lying on the couch having an afternoon nap. You paint a great
picture by struggle, by throwing yourself into it."
(In Understanding and Coping with Anxiety, a cassette tape by Rollo May, 1978).