Friday, October 2, 2015

The Making of The Harlequin Sailor by Pablo Matisse

My decision to pair Matisse’s young sailor with Picasso’s seated harlequin was quite arbitrary. The whole process is an experiment, juxtaposing motifs from everyone’s favorite modern masters. Rather than trace the originals I begin by drawing out a charcoal outline. I am hoping that the result feels organic, hoping that some inexactitude
will add to the charm. At this stage the painting looks very flat and posterized. Where are we? We are not sitting at a table across from the subject in the cafe that Picasso imagined his subject. As I bring the painting to its conclusion my introduction of cut-out shapes from Matisse’s toolbox further pushes this idea of multiple temporalities.
I’m sure the nature of my work invites comparison. In which case, we all know who would win, and isn’t me. Of course, my intention is not the same. As an appropriation artist I’m merely exploring the idiom. It is a fun endeavor to build castles in Spain, as it were, to see what might have happened if these two art rivals had worked side by side on the same canvas and what they might have made of it. I’m sure what they might have made of it is art beyond my limited scope, of course. But I hope you enjoy my attempt to reference both styles, “North and South Poles”, just the same. –Pablo Matisse

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