|Anne Tabachnick, “Cambridge with Tulips and View” (late 1960s), acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 38 x 48 inches|
Friday, June 19, 2015
Posted by Aubrey Levinthal
There is this thing that happens very occasionally. I think everyone has felt it happen to them. It's where the world conspires to get you to notice one thing in a heightened way, so when you see it, it feels nearly predestined. (Maybe some call that fate but I don't believe in that)
Here's what happened: I spent about 1.5 hours this morning trying to respond to an email that I had been putting off for about 2 weeks. I was trying to describe essentially what I think is important in painting, what I paint. That thing no painter wants to or can define. So I fumbled through this email and sent it off. It was cobbled sentence fragments. Then I stared at 8 different paintings on my easel for the next 2 hours. I was too hyper aware of what I was doing and so everything was shitty. I gave up and decided I needed to reorganize myself. I needed to look at paintings, do some reading and figure out some jumping off points that I was excited to paint from.
I grabbed 9 books to start that process and the first one I open, first page I open to is this. An Anne Tabachnick catalog that I have looked at many times but never taken the extra time to read. This is literally the first thing I read:
"My basic preoccupation as an artist has been an apparently formal concern with painting as painting, per se. Yet, I am simultaneously guided by the notion of mystical presence of art that made me fall in love with painting in the first place. I could be called a Second Generation New York School painter, an identity which places me in an artistic, ideological and temporal milieu but does not begin to characterize my work. I have called my work 'lyrical expressionism' hinting at its evocative nature. My pictures are figurative - always insisting on some reference to natural visual phenomena - but are expressive through abstract means."
I feel like she reached through time and space to give me those words at this moment. I LITERALLY KNEW BEFORE I googled her name that she died 20 years ago to this day. I was positive that the world would answer back to affirm its awareness. I was one day off. She died June 20, 1995. I honor you today Anne. A great painter and thinker, your work sustains that mystical presence that guided you.