thinking about Thiebaud
A wonderful thing about finding an artist or writer who inspires you, is that even 20 years after discovering them, you may find more still that charges and replenishes you, but in a different way that reflects the new connections you continue to make in your own work.
Just some of my thoughts upon learning of Wayne Thiebaud’s departure yesterday at age 101. Some of my favorite writing about his work came into my head, by Michael Kimmelman in The Accidental Masterpiece. I pulled the book from my shelf. (I forgot the satisfaction of pulling a book from a shelf to check a memory!)
He wrote about how ‘Thiebaud’s pictures prompt something more complicated than plain joy.. closer to the nature of memory.. this reaction slowly registers in our minds as the gap between what actually was.. and the world as we wished it to be… A sadness after the first leaping rush of pleasure.’ And how the art is ‘a throwback in its craftsmanship, which has its own nostalgic effect.’ The very American brand of wit and melancholy. Ah, just find and read the whole gorgeous chapter titled ‘The Art of Gum-ball Machines’. It resonated with me in 2006 and still does, along with the paintings and their aura of familiarity, the precision of colors and stacks and placement. ‘Free-floating signs, wide open to our dreams.’