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David Rohn — Watercolors: 1974 - 2016

March 16 - April 30

My way of painting derives from an intense reaction against art, or art as I was practicing it at one time. In the early 1970s I had been an abstract artist for a decade or more, a serious professional intending to advance American Art, and I hoped to awe the art world with my painting.

Then I had a revelation: I had to find a better process regardless of the product. I decided that the only art process I could endure, one free from theory, was what I experienced while teaching my beginning drawing class. It was empty of meaning. It offered an exit. I thought, “What am I doing spending all that time inventing a visual language when it is there for the taking? Look at that shape, that bizarre juxtaposition. I never would have thought of that.” I changed to watercolor paper and began drawing, then painting the objects accumulating on my windowsills and counters at home. I painted in the penciled outlines with watercolor, and as I worked I was looking at abstract arrangements in the overlapping puddles that have their own flow and assertions. Furthermore, there is the “gestalt,” the way the eye and brain, when looking intently at a visual field, will begin to organize the percept into patterns, symmetries, geometries. Enclosure in a framing edge intensifies this exponentially. Sometimes a hidden composition seems so resolutely preconceived it is like finding an unknown Bach Partita crumpled in the trash.