Artist Statement

I have been making art most of my life and showing professionally since 1982.That was the year I entered Graduate school at the University of Texas . I received a Master of Fine Arts in Painting in 1984. Throughout my time in the art world, my work has changed along with my maturing attitude about my place in the world. I believe that an interesting artist shows people things that they couldn’t have thought of on their own. This leads to that uncomfortable exhilaration that we feel in front of the best art. I think about the essential mythic passages of my life as deeply as I can. Those searches and musings lead to poems and paintings.

My paintings and poems have overlapping content . Sometimes they are twins with an almost  perfect symbiosis. At other times they are like friends regarding each other from varied distances. I suppose at times there is even a bit of antagonism between them. They can operate independently , some of the poems have been published and the paintings have been shown without the poems. When they are together an extra level of contemplation is created.

I was once told by a professor in Graduate school, “You can’t have abstract concerns in a figurative painting.” Being familiar with late Rembrandt and late Monet, I knew this to be completely wrong. Both Artists in their most profound periods did just that; they made art that was deeply content oriented and yet incredibly abstract in its exploration of paint effects. Kandinsky intuited the same thing when he saw his first Monet and looked at it as an abstraction.

The real question is one that every artist must settle for his or herself “Where, on the sliding scale of interaction between abstraction and figuration, does expression go deepest?” Kandinsky declared the formal elements independent from worldly content. The risk is that abstraction without worldly references will become just ‘decoration’. As it did with late Kandinsky. One the other side of the scale figuration without exploratory painting effects becomes unmusical and prosaic.

For me paint effects relate to content as a jazz solo does to a melody. I prefer melodic solos that take me away and then find a surprising way back to the main body of the musical piece. With my improvisations I am trying to find that disquieting place where the visible world meets the world of the mind. I would say that what Edgar Allen Poe referred to as “the ineffable” is the goal.

I was born in Virginia Beach,Virginia to a working class family that loves to tell stories. There is a frequent appearance of Ocean imagery in my poems because I miss the Atlantic and the Southeast in general. Texas is beginning to appear more and more the longer I live here. I have a wife Heather and four children , Evan 27, Hannah 21 , Olivia 15, and J.Reilly 13. We all live in Austin.

– Joshua Kight