Qualia grid of paintings
Qualia
Current Work Statement

SAILING THROUGH HISTORY

In 1946 Willem de Kooning painted Judgment Day and Jackson Pollock painted Free Form. It would take me forty years to discover these paintings. 1946 was the year I was born. My father was a navy man deployed like so many young men to the Western Pacific intending to invade the Japanese mainland. They say war changes a man forever.

For my father something had been broken. The A-bombs dropped. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost. He returned home to conceive his second son... me.

Rain. What sort of force lifts all this water up into the sky and then gives it back again? Flowing over the falls, down the rivers and into the sea.

It was my turn to sail on the sea. Twenty years later I was a navy man off to the Western Pacific to fight again.

By the time I returned, no longer a complete innocent, painting was unrecognizable by its historic definition. Except to say it was a panel with paint on it. Painters had pretty much lost interest in representing anything or sending a message to anyone. The separation between Church and Canvas was just about impossible to distinguish. It had all become commerce. Art became like everything else, worth what ever it could fetch.

Some lamented the loss of the image. Others reveled in the freedom of infinite choice. I was searching for meaning in some sort of personal truth.

I felt a darkness I had needed to be made into light. Painting was going through a death of its own. It seemed the last thing I could ever depend on. The eye itself was under assault. In this world, seeing was no longer believing.

When human beings first looked out over the earth, the eye was an important tool for survival. Discernment of line, form, and color meant the difference between eating and being eaten. There existed no luxury of elective interpretation. The species went on to insist on finding meaning in all of what it saw. It is no wonder that such a comfort-bound ideal would eventually collapse. It seemed that meaning delivered by the eye to the brain would at best have to be content with a fleeting relation, a temporary infatuation with itself. It leaves a lonesome feeling.

I have not sailed on the sea for many years but I swim in it occasionally.

For me, my favorite part of the sea is where it meets the shore, caresses the shore, makes love to the shore. It washes over me in my dreams.

I surrender to its vastness. The tide washes out. It is a simple force without meaning or message. By its example I set my course recording sensations in paint.

— Jerry Carniglia

 

 

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