G: Images that can be too quickly recognized. To preconceive an image, or even to dwell on an image, and then to go ahead and paint it is an impossibility for me. I have often wondered why I find an image that is easily recognizable to be so intolerable in a painting. My answer is that it is intolerable -- and also irrelevant -- because it's too abstract. By that I mean that it's simply and only recognizable. The artist had a thought and then proceeded to paint the thought. Paul Valery once said that a bad poem is one that vanishes into meaning. In a painting in which this is a room, this a chair, this a head, the imagery does not exist -- it vanishes into recognition. The trouble with recognizable art is that it excludes too much. I want my work to include more. And "more" also compromises one's doubts about the object, plus the problem, the dilemna, of recognizing it. I am therefore driven to scrape out the recognition, to efface it, to erase it. I am nowhere until I have reduced it to semi-recognition. R: Could we say that you are opposed to realism because it is too subjective, too closely confined to the artist's notions of things? For you, it would seem, an image can have meaning, or reality, only if it first comes into being on the canvas and not previously in the artist's eye or in his mind. G: Yes. And this has to do with how the image comes into being, with the process of its creation. It means that the point you are working toward is that -- that -- you didn't do it. You have to work to achieve a kind of nonentity, althought it's not anonymous.

from Philip Guston's Object
A Dialogue with Harold Rosenberg

Thanks to C Brand for sending this.


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