Artist Statement
A.K.A. Cubism - Poetic Picturemaking
Oils by R. Heath

Two questions most frequently asked about my paintings are:
"What is the meaning of the painting?" and "What is Poetic Picturemaking?"

We grownups are conditioned to react to things in certain ways. We need to know what things mean so that we can reach into our brain-files to locate past experience: this allows us to comprehend, categorize and decide.

Picasso once said, "Why do people always want to know the meaning of art?
What is the meaning of the song of a bird?"

In my painting there is no one part that stands out incohesive with the rest in order to give hint of a meaning. Each part that makes up the painting, say its line, its shape, its color-form is a "necessity" and comes out one part after another necessarily. To read my painting by its parts is to look at an individual brick of the architecture. My painting has no personal meaning. If there must be a meaning, it is the meaning of how our human hearts can feel the tingle and warmth derived from certain color combinations, by the arrangements of shape and form, just like our emotions are effected by music notes, rhythm and melody - as basic and mysterious as the law of gravity.

  As to the second question, we must touch upon poetry. Often time's poets break up our conditioned associations with words by giving them new arrangements. They give old words new meanings. In a poem, words rhyme but differentiate; the rhythm flows one line after another and is not mechanical. In the end it forms a totality in our mind and it creates something indescribable in our hearts. If an artist approaches a painting the way a poet does poetry, he/she gives the subject a new visual reality apart from the one that we are conditioned to. In the painting, shapes and lines rhyme but differentiate; the rhythms of the parts (composition) activate each other to imbue vitality. In the end the painting forms a cohesive unity and, hopefully, ignites something indescribable in our hearts. It is in this way that the experience of painting, poetry and music is parallel.

R. Heath  


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