I keep thinking about John Berger’s words. This is from Terry Greene’s blog Just Another Painter. He does all the work, finding interesting artists for me to check out. Thank you, Terry!
How do you interpret John Berger’s words? How does it relate to you and what you are doing?

Just Another Painter

 

 

John Berger, photograph by Jean Mohr?

“Face. Whatever the painter is looking for, he’s looking for it’s face. All the search and the losing and the re-finding is about that, isn’t it? And ‘its face’ means what? He’s looking for its return gaze and he’s looking for its expression – a slight sign of its inner life. And this is true whether he’s painting a cherry, a bicycle wheel, a blue rectangle, a carcass, a river, a bush, a bull or his own reflection in a mirror.” ~ excerpt from  ‘Studio Talk’ (for Miquel Barcelo) from John BergerThe Shape of a Pocket, page 27 – 28

 

 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “

  1. Interesting idea! I don’t know if it’s “face” to me either — a face is something on the outside, isn’t it, whereas that “slight sign of its inner life” sounds more like something on the inside, not seen by everyone.

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  2. I think the thing he says about “the sign of its inner life” is what I can relate to. Because the face is only but one part of what is revealing that – whether it’s an actual face or not.

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    • At first I thought he meant what the chair or tree or human body communicated to me in more of a feeling tone or as you say it’s inner life. But now after reading Terry’s interpretation I see the ‘face’ being more – did I go too far with my painting? Did I lose it’s perfect moment to stop? Maybe meaning too much saturation or sharpness or some kind of tweaking something in finishing a photograph. I’m not sure I made myself clear, but it’s got me thinking. Thanks for responding, Otto. Carla

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  3. Thank you Carla – much appreciated. I think the telling words for me in the Berger quote above are perhaps, “He’s looking for its return gaze”. The thing you search for when making any painting is that spark or sign of life – it’s nearly there and then perhaps you go too far all is lost. You carry on hoping to rediscover it and try not stifle it should it return once more.

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    • Right! Thanks for your thoughts. Before I read this . I was thinking more about the feeling of the chair or the face or the abstract painting. Now I know exactly what you mean. Knowing the moment to stop. Or maybe more for me the magical times when I do get what I wanted and stopped before it was too late. I really can’t get back to exactly what I had painted before.

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