Persuing the Ineffable is the new book of Michael Divine’s breath-taking artwork made in the 10 years following his first book, This Sublime Dance. This full color, cloth-bound, foil-stamped, hardcover book is beautifully crafted with full color, heavy weight, glossy pages, and a gold embossed dust jacket.
The book is a limited of 750 and each copy is signed and numbered on a bound page. The 226 page book features over 200 paintings and drawings with multiple fold out pages and giant full page details as well as contributing essays from Bill Moses and Violet Divine.
I begin with intimations. A corner, a cornice. A curve, perhaps witnessed in the form of a leaf or the nape of a neck. A line that expresses the color that is the sound of the car horn or the trumpet we just heard. We find a shadow. A glint of light. A background. A nearest and a farthest away.
Just a pen, meandering over the page - echoes of me: the way I comport myself in the world and the identity created, the current thrust of that being - his fears and hopes, his calm spaces and anxieties. Most of all, tho, his hopes. That's what I focus on the most.
As an artist it is inexplicable. You will see things that no one else sees. One day it may be your mind returning to the burning hue of a particular shade of orange against a soft robin egg blue. Another day you may be struck by the echoes of the curve of an oak tree, the way the sun glinted off an art deco inspired cornice of an office building built 100 years ago, or the patterns of the trash ground into the city street.
You may be a windswept plain. A bewildered forest. A breath of a dream at night.
I think of the artist as a kind of magician. I don't mean the 'here's a holy relic that will heal you' or turning you into a newt sort of magician with magical powers. Rather, an artist is like the sleight-of-hand magician who says 'First it is an apple' and then - POOF! - 'Now I hold a bouquet of flowers!' Done well, there is no doubt that the apple has been replaced instantaneously by the bouquet of flowers that has appeared in their hand.
And you think 'surely, there's a trick to it.' There's a string or a bit of fancy hand play that you didn't notice.
The book "Art & Fear" is a short but poignant book on some of the inner challenges artists face every day. I found the PDF online and have reposted it here. Consider buying a copy for yourself from the link in the quote below
These are questions that matter, questions that recur at each stage of artistic development - and they are the source for this volume of wonderfully incisive commentary." "Art & Fear explores the way art gets made, the reason it often doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way." "This is a book about what it feels like to sit in your studio or classroom, at your wheel or keyboard, easel or camera, trying to do the work you need to do. It is about committing your future to your own hands, placing Free Will above predestination, choice above chance. It is about finding your own work.
I find this fascinating and am reposting it here in case the article disappears one day.
A pair of Johns Hopkins and government scientists have discovered that when jazz musicians improvise, their brains turn off areas linked to self-censoring and inhibition, and turn on those that let self-expression flow.
There is no such thing as Sacred Geometry. There are, perhaps, more and less pleasing ratios. There are forms that repeat through space because they are the paths of least resistance for the elements that build on those forms. The "golden mean" or Fibonacci spiral is one of the most common, I think.
Such ratios form aesthetically pleasing ways of creating compositions. Breaking visual spaces into thirds or fifths can accomplish something that breaking them into twos cannot.
Without a doubt I paint a lot. I try to show up every day in my studio in front of my easel, most often in the morning. Some days, I may only paint for a couple of hours. Other days, hitting a stride, it lasts much longer. I do it in the morning because it's easiest to not get side tracked by any of the countless other projects and responsibilities.
In that process of showing up every day, I may at any moment have a dozen paintings I'm working on. Some sing, some sigh, some inhale, and others exhale.
I love pen and ink. That is - a calligraphy pen and a bottle of ink. Although, to be fair, I think 'calligraphy pen' sort of pigeon holes it since I am often just using thin drawing nibs. There's a delicate painterliness to them - to the dipping the pen in the ink as if it is brush getting another daub of paint and the way that it flows out of the pen and onto the paper leaving this somewhat upraised line that lays atop the surface. But it's also rather unforgiving. Get caught in too thick a drop of ink and the whole pen relieves itself onto the paper. Move too quickly or too slowly and a drop appears - splat - out of nowhere.
In this day of quick edits and soundtracked tik-toks - gotta get those reels posted to get the dopamine feels - I find the presence of mind that such little endeavors take to be all the more nourishing.
As you may know, I have a new book due out soon called "Persuing the Ineffable". (Yes yes, we know the spelling of 'persuit' is different than expected. Please give the book a read to see why.) When I finally had the first copy of "This Sublime Dance" - my first art book - in my hands, I knew immediately that a second book would follow.
Skimming through the pages of that first book, you could witness the 18-year journey of the artist (I think the earliest work in there was from me at age 16). What would another ten years bring? I am so much more efficient now, so much more patient and careful. But I am also freer in my expression and more connected to a deeper sense of spontaneity. I've made more paintings and fine drawings in the subsequent 9 years than in the entirety of the time span of "This Sublime Dance".
The casual observer asks: What do you call this style of art?
The gallerist may say: This kind of art looks different from the art we show.
And then the collector, the fan, says: It's beautiful. I love it.
To be fair, that last part is, in the end, the only part that matters: that you - the person who has opted to bring my work into your home - who knows it will be with you for the long haul - that you love it. That when you look to it in your moments of quiet, it sings, and in your moments of beautitude, it glows.