<b>Two Series: “Rolling Drunk on Petroleum” and “4 Elements”</b>// Dos series: "Rodar borracho de petróleo" y "4 elementos"


  • George Woodward Independent Artist




      I recently read that Leonardo drew things in order to understand them. That pretty well describes why I make art: in order to clarify feelings or thoughts—while hoping that that’s interesting to other people. I’ve learned that to understand anything, I have to deliberately avoid a “style”, to avoid making images that repeat one another. Each thought or feeling needs its own “style”. Most of my images are for simple, visual pleasure, the pleasure of shapes, color, of space, of movement. All the work is exploratory and experimental, an adventure for me that I hope is enjoyable for you.
      The works presented for this special issue belongs to two series of paintings, which are to be considered as meditations on our environmental foolishness: “Rolling Drunk on Petroleum” and “4 Elements.”
      Kurt Vonnegut said, “Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum”, and his words inspired my three paintings of that title, “Rolling Drunk on Petroleum”.
      The four elements, earth-air-fire-water (from the philosopher-scientists of the ancient Mediterranean) evolved into the splendid array of 118 chemical elements we now know. As the four evolved, however, they lost their moral dimension. The three paintings titled “4 Elements” are my attempt to find images that suggest that dimension. They speak of our need to balance the parts of our world and of our character. They add the astrological symbols which once provided a spiritual connection to their ruling gods: Venus? ; Saturn ? ; Jupiter ? ; Mars ? . I’m too much of a materialist to expect wonders from those symbols, but they’re a delight to look at.


      Recientemente leí que Leonardo dibujaba cosas para entenderlas. Eso describe bastante bien por qué hago arte: para clarificar los sentimientos o pensamientos—mientras espero que eso interese a otras personas. He aprendido que para entender cualquier cosa, tengo que evitar deliberadamente un “estilo”, evitar hacer imágenes que se repitan. Cada pensamiento o sentimiento necesita su propio “estilo”. La mayoría de mis imágenes son para el placer simple visual, el placer de las formas, del color, del espacio, del movimiento. Toda la obra es exploratoria y experimental, una aventura para mí que espero sea agradable para vosotros.
      Las obras que se presentan en este número pertenecen a dos series de pinturas, que pueden considerarse meditaciones sobre nuestra insensatez medioambiental: “Rodar borracho de petróleo” y “4 elementos”.
      Kurt Vonnegut dijo: “Estimadas generaciones futuras: Por favor, aceptad nuestras disculpas. Estábamos rodando borrachos de petróleo”, y sus palabras inspiraron las tres pinturas con ese título, “Rodar borrachos de petróleo”.
      Los cuatro elementos, tierra-aire-fuego-agua (de los filósofos-científicos del Mediterráneo antiguo) evolucionaron en la espléndida variedad de 118 elementos químicos que hoy conocemos. A medida que los cuatro evolucionaron, sin embargo, perdieron su dimensión moral. Las tres pinturas tituladas “4 elementos” son mi intento de encontrar imágenes que sugieran esa dimensión. Hablan de nuestra necesidad de equilibrar las partes de nuestro mundo y de nuestro carácter. Añaden los símbolos astrológicos que una vez proporcionaron una conexión espiritual con los dioses en el poder: Venus? ; Saturno ? ; Júpiter ? ; Marte ?. Soy demasiado materialista para esperar maravillas de esos símbolos, pero es un placer contemplarlos.


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Author Biography

George Woodward, Independent Artist

George Woodward received his MFA from U.C. Berkeley after a BS in Biology at Cal Tech and an MA in Embryology at Stanford. He worked in Berkeley, in San Antonio (Texas), and in San Francisco, before he began teaching at San Francisco City College. He retired from teaching in 1991 and now lives with his wife, Ann, in Marin County.

His work has many sources: his Berkeley teachers, artists like Guston, Kiefer, Munch, his favorite Renaissance masters, paleolithic cave artists, newspapers, billboards. His concern is human behavior, what we’re doing in the world and how we feel about it. Mixed media with monotype, because of their spontaneity and intimacy, seem a perfect medium for this purpose. His work is shown in local, national, and international exhibitions.