Art Review, Philip Guston, Painting Smoking Eating

28 Jan

I love Philip Guston.  Well, I don’t know so much about the man, but I sure love his art.  He has a large sense of playfulness, and much of his work looks more like illustration (in the best way) than painting.  He reminds me of those New Yorker cartoons, except his are really funny and are a hoot.

Painting Smoking Eating seems to be a favorite things painting.  We have a man in bed smoking a cigarette, with a plate of sandwiches on his chest, and a pile of shoes and some paints in the background as well as a lightbulb.  The whole thing is done mostly in roses and reds giving it a soft air.   (Keep in mind one thing Philip Guston loved painting was shoes, which when you look at his art you’ll be why of COURSE he would love shoes, he loves anything odd, and shoes are definitely odd if you think about them.)

There’s a definite coziness in this painting, as if he’s shut himself off from the world and as long as these things continue he would happily go on forever.  Naturally this won’t last for awhile, but I wonder if he was a forager, the sort of person who hides away as long as he has his needs met and goes out when he needs to get something.  Nothing wrong with that, I have the same thing.  In fact I can see this as an homage to interverted happiness, which is not the same thing at all as extroverted happiness.

Introverted happiness has to do with a pile of books on a rainy day spent in pajamas, or listening to music and drawing for hours, or watching documentaries.  Introverts don’t seek out others because they like their own company well enough.  Projects.  Just thinking.  Walks.  That sort of thing.  Introversion is a lovely state of experience that is small and quiet and perceptive.  Drinking things in.

That’s why I think this painting is lovely, it perfectly shows that sort of peaceful state where everything is provided and you don’t need the world today.  I love those days.

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