The Virtue of Relationship, Yang No. 5
Oil, Raw Pigment & Polymer on Canvas, 36" x 36", 2003
What is Yang?
Yang is Hexagram No. 1: Kh-Yen (Heaven Above Heaven) of the I Ching.
The artist asks one question in the Yang Series: What is the virtue of a relationship? Virtues are absolute and forever, so one may logically say that there is no virtue in something that does not last, as in relationships. Even the best wither, as lovers die and memories fade.
The ancient Chinese I Ching divination system reveals hidden answers at work in our lives. By asking a life question, and then by tossing 3 coins six times, the artist draws a series of code lines. The six-line configuration is called a hexagram, lines drawn, either unbroken or broken. The lines are drawn starting at the bottom and proceed to the top until there are six lines altogether.
Each group of three lines are called a trigram. Each trigram represents a force of nature: Heaven, Earth, Thunder, Water/The Deep, Mountain, Wind/Wood, Fire/Sun, The Marsh/Mist. Yang is the very first hexagram of the I Ching, a twin trigram representing heaven below and heaven above. The attributes of Heaven are: inspiration, power, aggressiveness and completeness. The two trigrams, six unbroken lines, become the departure point for the painting and further cultivated as an organic abstract landscape. In Yang No. 5 the three pairs of lines are deliberately joined, unlike the previous in this series.
Yang No. 5 was painted as the final assignment for “The Original Originator/Professional Beginnings for Professional Artists” taught by renowned artist James Rosenquist. The 4-session workshop held in the Sackler Center for Arts Education at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City began on November 1, 2003.
The workshop included lectures, demonstrations, and specific assignments that informed painters about Rosenquist’s technical working process as well as basic aspects of starting a studio with limited resources. This workshop culminated with a group exhibition at the Guggenheim on Saturday, November 13, 2003.
Among other things, Rosenquist taught how to scale up an image (even to billboard size), blend different oil colors correctly on the canvas and how to mix hues in order to avoid using pure black in the image…all useful techniques employed in Yang No. 5.
The Yang series are abstract landscapes. Yang No. 5 suggests sensuality, and archetypal forms of nature. The paint media are mixed to create reticulations, lines, organic shapes, networks, and patterns within the paint. Gravitational forces and natural chemical reactions produce crystals and coastline borders on the earth’s surface, and also orchestrate the pigment layers on this canvas.
Carolyn S. Goodridge
December 1, 2003