Art in New York - about Person painting

In 1943 I earned a scholarship to the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts. I sat on a drawing bench in a huge group surrounding a old man in a suit - our model. My charcoal drawing looked just like him and the teacher nodded approval. For a Freshman in High School, it was a very good portrait. I didn't continue the class because I felt there was nothing to learn. Later, people suggested I could make money doing portraits, but I thought it was boring, and certainly not art.

This painting in 1965 is an exception, a portrait that shows many aspects of a person and gets beyond appearances. I based it on a friend, Irwin Klein.

As of 2003, I painted this about 38 years ago and the experience is still vivid. Timeless. Could also relate this to the landscape fragments and the first stained glass panels. Pieces of things. Juxtaposed. The brain cell and god cell in Wholeo Dome. With zen painting, the thing was separated from colors. With stained glass, the color was separate from the thing.

It doesn't have the precision of Picasso, lyricism of Chagall, realism of Magritte, color of Matisse or correct anatomy.  (For the record, the chest is not a breast.) The painting has the sketchy loose brushwork of Zen ink paintings. Is there a Magritte with the landscape in shirt collar?

I ask you to judge me on Jack Tworkov's terms. Did the artist succeed in what they were trying to do?

Put an issue like "The US in Iraq in 2003 " on the person portrait. The sad face sees the death and destruction, the greed, carnage, failure, and loss. The lack of any way out. The dreamer could side with the "bring our troops home, give Iraqis back their life." The mad mystic sides with the need for violent solutions. It's the right thing to do. Kill for peace and we do need the oil and our corporations do need to profit but will the taxpayers pay for it? This is driving me mad. The smiling person encompasses the ironies and listens to a rock band line that seems to epitomize it all. Watches the Daily Show on Comedy Central with me.

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