My work as an artist has a great deal to do with memory. As I paint, as I photograph, as I draw, I am remembering an event of a time that has passed, but that appears to be occurring in the present. All that has passed and all that will come to be culminate to form the image, like the coalescence of two passing waves upon the shore of the sea.
In painted portraiture, the inspiration is drawn from life, or from the reference of a photographic image. But it is a reference point, merely to trigger a memory. As I paint, the image develops upon the canvas, like the appearance of an image on photographic paper, as it is dipped into the developing liquid in the darkroom of my mind.
Unlike the everyday events of life, which we walk through like the turning of invisible pages, a memory exists apart from this diurnal passage. "Time presupposes a view of time," as "its moments co-exist spread out before thought" (Merleau-Ponty, 1962, p. 411–415).
The origin of objective time, with its fixed positions lying beneath our gaze is not to be sought in any eternal synthesis, but in the mutual harmonizing and overlapping of past and future through the present, and in the very passing of time (1962, p. 420).
Although I've primarily focused on painting and drawing in recent years, I have begun to create a body of photographic work as well. The new portfolio consists of photographs of clouds. Details of cloud formations in varying light conditions, photographs of passing storms, and of clouds disintegrating through evaporation into the evening sky.
Here are a few examples of this new body of work:
© Noé Badillo 2016
It is a departure from the figure, from the focus on my wife and the kids, and from other figurative subjects. But although I haven't formally presented this work yet, it has served as a study of light, and of form. And this study has influenced how I paint those other subjects.
Above all else, the images serve to trigger a memory of those other depicted events.
Two artists that I've been influenced by for quite some time are Leon Lhermitte and Vincent van Gogh. Vincent also loved Lhermitte's work as well.
Van Gogh – I feel a strange connection to the man. There may be no other artist who can transform confusion and torment into such intense beauty. One day at the National Gallery in London, I stood there, in front his painting, Wheat Field with Cypresses.
I looked at the painting for a moment that felt like an hour. Then I immediately felt pulled into the painting. The swirling fluffy clouds, and the warm light of the south of France depicted by the painting suddenly gave way to a feeling of horror, of pain, and of something that somehow went very wrong in Vincent's life. It upset me to the point that I spun on my heels, and almost walked right out of the National Gallery.
It was in 2003 and 2004 when Vincent became an influence upon my own work. It was also during this time that I undertook an apprenticeship with Osvaldo Romberg. Perhaps it was no coincidence that at the time Osvaldo was also creating a body of work around Vincent.
Osvaldo's depictions of Vincent were meant to portray genius and madness. I found parallels between our world and his. Vincent's image of the Old Man with the Beard became Osvaldo, my teacher, in profile.
For me, van Gogh's influence was not one of madness, but of strength. What seemed unstable in Vincent's work gave me stability. I think that perhaps this was also true for Vincent, who found influence in the Realist school—in the depictions of the poor working class in Third Republic France.
Vincent spoke several times about Lhermitte in his letters to Theo. He felt that his "bold touch which can [sic] be compared only to Rembrandt's."
Vincent spoke also of Daumier, of having "pith and a sober depth," and a "passion which can be compared to the white heat of iron." The way that Vincent intensely studied these artists appears contrary to who he has become, and to what he is known for. It is unfortunate that Vincent's madness, or that he sliced off his ear interests people more than his austerity, his studiousness, and his incredible vigor as an artist.
It was not until years later that I started to realize what it meant in my work (without doing studies of Vincent's) what strength is.
The experiences that shaped my life—of poverty, of being literally a starving artist. And then of love, of finding Elizabeth, of learning to hold one another, and to create a family. This is what became strength for me.
For more information about Vincent van Gogh, see: https://www.artsy.net/artist/vincent-van-gogh
Welcome to my new blog! I thought this would be a great way to share my work as an artist and a scholar in a more in-depth and personal way.
I will be posting about a lot of different things that may be of interest. Some of the things I plan to post about include:
My life has shaped my work in a lot of interesting ways, and I look forward to sharing it with you.
"The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him."
I am an artist and a scholar of art and architectural history and theory. I've been a practicing artist since 1994, when I started making black and white photographs at age fifteen. In 2012, I married my beautiful wife, Elizabeth Anne Riedel. Her place in my life changed the course of my work. She and my two sons have now become almost the sole subject of my art. I am currently a PhD student at Arizona State University, where I am writing my dissertation entitled, Geometry of the Sun: Guarino Guarini and the Church of San Lorenzo.