oil on linen by Clyde Aspevig
All paintings originate in the mind of an artist through an emotional reaction to an experience. Being human, we like to impose our ideas on these emotions as a way to enhance and remember the experience.
Transcending the ordinary is one of the primary goals of the visual arts, and that is why the" idea "becomes the most essential part of its success or failure. It doesn't mean that the viewer of such art immediately understands the symbolism or metaphors that take shape in the process of developing an idea… it means that the artist uses the tools of technique in a more meaningful and profound way that will hopefully entice further inspection and wonderment.
FAMILY TIES, a 48 x 48 inch oil on linen, began as an emotional reaction to the view of the aspen grove out our window. Aspen are considered a weed, and they are attached to each other via a root system like our own human nervous system. The mother tree in this scene is the nurturing source of the grove. My last name is also derived from the word aspen. In a way, I see the tree as my mother, rooted in the earth that sustains us. After living with the grove for a full season on our new property, I chose March as the month to paint the view…. on the edge of spring, but still melancholy enough to satisfy my Nordic roots.
I think the metaphors attached to the seasons in nature are obvious, but never boring, and constantly stirring our emotions in different ways as evident in our music, poetry, and fiction writing over time. The little aspen grove begins to inspire new thoughts and ideas as I experienced the character of its nuances through the seasons. During my period of observation, I noticed the repeating shapes in different forms …fractals, musicality, and the duality between the representational world and the birth of the abstract as another way to see the same image.
At the time I was developing these ideas, I just happened to be reading a book about the history of Echoes from the ancient Greeks to modern time. Trying to paint the idea of an echo on a flat, two dimensional surface using an aspen grove as the subject was very intriguing. Creating texture and scratching out surfaces in a painting to achieve an effect is nothing new. It's been done before. But using the idea of an echo to facilitate your image created a more powerful platform to express my idea. You can create soft and hard edges and a lot of texture all day long, but it has to have content of idea in order to become engaging to the human mind.
When you examine the surface texture of “FAMILY TIES”, you will see the ghosts of where the branches and trunks of trees were over a period of time…. their echo. The branches, the snow, and the sky are scratched, scrapped, and painted in layers…representing movement through time.
I think you can sense the vibrations, the syncopation, the sensuousness, of a living piece of land. It is not static, it is moving through time in an endless cycle of growth and change. I tried to make each square inch of the canvas an individual journey of discovery that exudes these ideas.
In the end, whether the idea succeeds or not depends on how far the viewer wants to go with it. Ultimately, the glance through an aspen grove can be just a brief visual delight …. but, with a little help from the artist, it can also evolve into a wonderful journey of discovery and imagination.