Paintings            GARY BARTEN
Understanding the Other #1
September 2017
ink, acrylic, and tempera on paper
48" x 37"
Understanding the Other

How much are we really able to understand the other? While we might carefully and consciously approach one another, there is only a very remote chance that we can truly know another individual. Perhaps ultimately we never fully achieve the level of understanding we are seeking. That distance towards understanding another and the sympathy we strive for may be represented by a vast continuum upon which lifetimes have stretched towards one another and yet remained somehow apart – closer and closer by degrees – but still separate in ways unknowable.

There are at least two systems working towards one another in this series of paintings. To categorize them broadly, one might say that there is a large encircling environment on top of which a rectilinear system, almost man-made, has developed with minimal conformity to the larger state. A kind of dance takes place in the ensuing three paintings wherein the rectilinear system softens and begins to merge in a kind of organic harmony with the space around it. In the last painting both systems have retained their own inner integrity while making visible concessions to one another. This is not a static resolution but instead a form of motion which would continue into the future.
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