Archive for December 30th, 2017

Hank’s Lost Highway

The year is coming to an end and for me it’s a time of reflection. I reposted a piece yesterday on that subject and this post from back in 2009 speaks to that same theme. Plus, anytime I can look at a Hopper painting and listen to one of my favorite Hank Williams songs, it’s a good post to revisit.

Whenever I see an Edward Hopper painting I feel a bond with him, as though he were a kindred spirit in a world full of alienation.  There is always a great sense of distance in his paintings.

Aloofness. Looking out but looking in.  A disengagement of sorts from the wider world. Even in his cityscapes, one feels as though they are miles away from anyone else.

I suppose this disengagement may be the reason I and many others choose to communicate in paint. With few exceptions, I have seldom felt inclusion in many groups of people, always feeling a bit like an outsider. And while I have actually become comfortable in this position, always bearing a sort of suspicion toward groups or cliques, the need to be heard drives my painting.

Even in a world of alienation, one wants to have their say.

In my paintings, I sometimes see this aloofness in my red tree and the way it is often portrayed as a single figure in a large space. Sometimes the pieces reflect a celebration of the self and self-reliance but sometimes there is this sense of a Hopper-like alienation. The solitary character just wanting to be heard.

I don’t see this as being a sad portrayal. There’s much more I could say on this but I think that’s enough for the moment.  Here’s a song from the great Hank Williams that kind of speaks to this subject.  It’s Lost Highway, a song that is, for me, one of the most transcendent songs Hank ever recorded, a song with a spirit that feels new and alive even today, even with its early ’50’s production values.

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