Saturday, June 17, 2017

Seriousness in True Joy

During my business trip to Denver earlier this month, I toured - for the second time - the Clyfford Still Museum. And, and is my compulsion, I bought a book. But not just any book: a vintage copy of the catalog that accompanied Still's donation of 28 of his paintings to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1976.

Toward the end of the book, a 1963 quote of Still's is included that I'll quote directly here:
"I'm not interested in illustrating my time. A man's 'time' limits him, it does not truly liberate him. Our age - it is of science - of mechanism - of power and death. I see no virtue in adding to its mammoth arrogance the compliment of graphic homage."
Flipping a few pages back in the book brought me to PH-261 (see below), a painting completed about the same time as Still made that statement. Certainly, this painting exudes timelessness and is without mechanism. It is essentially human.

Clyfford Still, PH-261, 1962. source
Still also is quoted in the book as saying "I am a serious man about those things I consider important. Perhaps there is a seriousness in true joy." There is no better word than joy to describe my reaction to Clyfford Still's work.

Reference: Clyfford Still at the SFMOMA.