A Common Language: Scot Borofsky's Grant-Funded
New Series of Large Works Opens Around Town
I have always had the sense that I was born to create. Because of my instinctual need to fulfill this function since an early age, sometimes with the world behind me and sometimes with the world against me, I have followed this course. For twenty-five years I have been applying myself to making art. I thought, when I was in art school, that there should be a way to express ideas in art with a visual language which expresses easily to all peoples in all cultures, no matter their history or artistic orientation. I thought I might be able -- if I understood enough about the way art has been made all over the world and through the history of different cultures -- to find a way to speak in all those languages simultaneously through one common language of visual expression.
Beginning with Western art history, I moved through studies of various types of art making from all over the world, trying to understand the tradition of thought, rather than just appropriating images from different sources. For a long time, as I emulated Ancient Chinese landscape painting or Pre-Columbian abstraction and graphic design, I simultaneously developed my personal collection of symbols, using methods of "blind drawing" invented by the artists in the Dada art movement. These symbols I set in different cultural and historic contexts, such as outdoor urban spray-paint installations or painted photographs from the ruins of Pompeii. They were often abstracted from drawings of animals or people. I look for archetypes.
About five years ago, I randomly began to draw these symbols right on top of each other, building up visual relationships and a "story" between them. At one point I was looking at some large Philip Guston paintings when I asked myself how he managed to achieve such a sense of order to his expressive network of inter-relating marks and gestures. I laid a traditional "golden mean" grid over his painting. Yes, it seems he used this ancient system as a base for improvisation, much as a blues musician improvises freely by sticking to the 1-4-5 blues chord progression. I thought, if this worked for Guston, it's worth a try.
This was a major breakthrough for me. I have found the combination which has sacked all my outside influences and left me with the essence of twenty years of invention. It is my expressive style, it is new to the world and is my means of speaking visually. I need to develop this current work in scale and subtlety in an effort to develop its range and character. I have never had it easy in this search. Much adversity has been overcome. But I have had much encouragement and some good luck. I continue.
Copyright 2005, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont