Pictured hereis my painting entitled "Crop Damage". It is based on a photograph taken by E A Otto as she stood at the back door of her home in North Dakota after the storm had passed. she told me the storm did only "crop damage" as she put it. Some people have told me that they see many images in the storm cloud. These arrived unconsciously, but, I feel, add to the interest of the piece.
Throughout the course of time artists have employed metaphor to communicate what they want to say through the use of an image. They will, for example paint a painting of something, intending to convey something more. I'm no exception. When I began painting storms I knew I was onto something. But it took me years to understand what I was onto. I had already begun exhibiting the tornado series widely and yet still hadn't figured this out. This played out in an embarrassing moment when a television reporter In Ft. Worth, Texas asked me what the paintings were about and I told him that they were really a metaphor. So the reporter naturally asked, "A metaphor for what?" I stumbled, I didn't know what to say! I had set myself up for that one! I think I said, "You know, that's a really good question!" Yikes. Oh well, what could I do? The moment had already happened. Fortunately for me, that moment wasn't used in the broadcast piece. If you'd like to see what was used you can click on here on here: http://www.amymarx.com/appearances/
It's the bottom video, and the specific piece within the reel is at 5.25. While we're on the topic of embarrassment, a question that was actually used, that I also didn't have an answer to was "Why would somebody want a painting of a tornado?" That question is put to me at 7:36. it has been put to me many times. Perhaps you, who are reading this, might have an answer for me! If you do, please let me know.
Getting back to the question of metaphor, I finally had to come to terms with what I had been mulling over in my head for years when I had a show at The American Association for the Advancement of Science In Washington, DC. (The televised interview that went with that show is also in this reel. It's the first one, at 0.00. Ironically it's with Topper Shutt, on the very same "weather terrace" on the very same channel where I had already been interviewed talking about the very same paintings with Doug Hill (who had since moved to a different network), just a few years before! The one with Doug follows the one with Topper. I figured, if no one at the channel was astute enough to notice the repeat, I certainly wasn't going to let on!) But I digress. Again, back to the question of metaphor. So at the AAAS show I was finally asked for an artist's statement. It now seems hard to believe that I had made it this far without having had to provide this, but now the gig was up. So what was it that I was really talking about in my work besides the obvious drama of the tornado? With the help of my brilliant and long-time spouse, (a real estate investor with the soul of an artist, whose talents, I feel, are misapplied), I was able to discern that what I was really meaning to convey was what underlie the drama of the tornado. It was the energy which underlies all of life itself, that which is responsible for the magnificence and the intelligence of the astounding universe in which we all live. I was really talking about the animating force. You could call this God. I actually do call it God. But in the secularized age in which we live, it seems that one can't talk like that. Certainly not publicly and professionally. So we did the next best thing. We came up with this line: "I am attempting to convey, the invisible animating force of the universe." This became a kind of signature line, and I was able to end the Weather Channel piece with it. This piece accompanied the show I had at OK Harris Works of Art in New York City. This iconic gallery, owned by art historical figure, Ivan Karp, is now closed, in compliance with his wishes upon his death. I was truly honored to have shown there and to have gotten to know this great man who made such an immense contribution to our culture. You can watch that piece, if you'd like, it's the video at the top of the same page.
I'd be most interested in hearing your thoughts. I have been thrilled to have begun a dialogue with some of you. Thank you for taking the time to read to this point. I know that we all have way too much to get done each day and I really do appreciate your taking a few minutes out of your busy day to read my writing. It is most gratifying for me to write these weekly pieces and receive replies. Writing is new to me, and though I resisted doing this for years, it has proven to be really fun and has caused me to stretch myself in ways that I could not have imagined. So please let me know what you think!
If you'd like to see more of my work you can go to: www.amymarx.com.
As always, I remain,