Archive for April 1st, 2010

The other day I wrote in this blog about the process of painting which brought a comment about appreciating the physicality of painting in person.  It immediately brought to my mind the paintings of Joan Miro, the great Catalan painter/sculptor.

I have always been greatly attracted to his paintings having seen them countless times in books and in popular culture, such as on the cover of Dave Brubeck’s  jazz classic Take Five.  There was something very enticing about the imagery and the geometry of his work, something that that was symbolic and beautiful at once.  However, I never wanted to know too much about the paintings, never wanted to try to read into every symbol.  I just loved the way they felt on the eye.

Dark joy.

But my main memory, and the one I returned to when I read the comment about seeing the physical nature of work in person, is of seeing a Miro painting in person for the first time.  When I saw it across the museum hall, I was excited.  It was like seeing an old friend after a long time, even though I had only seen the work in print.

But as I got closer I began to feel a dull pang of disappointment.  Up close, the surfaces were flat and dull, the paint thin.  It was still striking imagery but the feel on my eye was different and I left feeling a little different about his paintings.  A feeling that has remained with me even though I rationally accept it as his style and have come to more fully appreciate it.

I suppose it was simply the difference between expectation and the reality of actually seeing the work.

As I said, I have come to terms with the way they appear up close and understand that was how he worked, how his mind best translated to his chosen media.  That’s enough for me and far outweighs my own initial expectations and reaction.

The imagery still stuns me.

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