Erik Sanner Home Visual Other About

2014 is the Year of the Traffic Cone!

Happy New Year & Happy Traffic Cone Centennial!

Statement regarding "Improvisation without Blue, Green or Red"

This improvisation is an investigation into the essence of art-viewing and art-making. Scientists once imagined that sight was an active system functioning as a result of rays emanating from our eyes. Seeing can be active or passive depending on the attention of the viewer. Art only exists if there is a maker and a viewer, collaborating as a team to create a unique experience. I am interested in exploring what makes the maker make (the first art ingredient, making) and the viewer view (the second art ingredient, viewing). If we are all passive there is no art to see and nothing to think about.

As a viewer, I used to delight in weird, mysterious or unfathomable abstract paintings at art museums, basking in pure aesthetic appreciation of color and form, marveling that a human mind and hand could imagine and create something so artificial. In the case of an abstract expressionist such as de Kooning, I would step back to see the whole composition, and also lean as close as permitted to examine the marks he made and see the visceral layering of the paint. “What was he thinking while he was doing that?” I would wonder to myself.

Where do ideas come from? When you have a thought, did you create the thought, or did you get it from somewhere else? Does your brain generate thoughts or are there thoughts embedded in the nature of the universe which your brain is able to access? Thinking seems to be one of the most fundamental aspects of existence. Food, shelter, sleep, and reproduction we share with perhaps all life. Thought, language and culture are considered to be more human components (even though we know animals think). However, just because you and I know we are both thinking doesn’t mean we are going to agree on anything or think about the same things Even if
we do have similar interests and beliefs, we might not think about them the same way.

So, people are mysteries. We are mysteries to each other (what was de Kooning thinking?) and we are mysteries to ourselves (why do I care?). We develop weird habits and we don’t know where they came from – or we do know but we can’t stop anyway. And when we confront art made by another, we wonder, sometimes, about the artist.

That is the focus of this piece. I’m either talking while I’m painting, or one of my collaborators is conversing with me. You can hear what is going through my head and see how little impact it has on the abstract painting being painted. No questions are answered. I paint by instinct, by intuition. I don’t know why I still love to paint even though I feel it is an obsolete
medium. Here is my attempt to answer some of the musings I have had (and which you may have) as an art-viewer first and art-maker second. I have turned an opaque sometimes meditative process which is very difficult to describe (the process of facing a blank canvas and turning it into a painting) into an equally opaque stroke-by-stroke illumination of that process.

You can see this painting being painted and you can hear what I am thinking about. But where are those ideas coming from?