The reality of painting and the reality of the world.
By Sid Gastl
It's always been just about this moment. This moment in which things are in their proper form of being. Where being, appearance, and effect, for a moment, and it might only be a split second, coincide. Then you've got a picture. This distillation often means more to us than reality, in its myriad of random aspects. But nevertheless we often make a comparison with the factual, to examine the authenticity of the distillation. When they don't fit together, another conception has to take hold: fairytale-like, surreal, allegorical, caricatured. Then one can compare what one sees with an intellectualized concept and everything is fine again. But it is the real that is an illusion. We need thousands of filters to constantly assure ourselves that everything in us and around us is real, reliable, secure-that today is like it is, and that tomorrow will be the same. Remove just one of these filters and the result is already a state of uncertainty. What happens when my feeling and the appearance of something concur for a moment, but the effect is uncertain? Is that also a form of the real? Robert Musil described such a situation in his short story "The Blackbird". A man is awake in his apartment through until the morning, while his wife sleeps in bed. His perception changes through his feeling-and for some hours, also his reality. He sees differently and feels differently. Afterwards, the factual world has also changed, for he goes out of the flat and leaves it forever. Where should a painter who is interested in the conditions of reality draw the line, when he constructs the reality of a picture? He must let the viewer decide for themselves whether they want to let in this perceptive state.