By Brian Kershisnik
I make art because I am searching for things. I do not approach my easel with an overriding objective to change anything or anyone. Rather I am looking for something. Looking teaches me, and teases thinking out of me, and precipitates internal and external conversation that I believe do me good. My job of course is to paint, and to paint very well, but I have observed that art often accomplishes something quite independently of any artist’s intentions. It is understandably difficult to accomplish things beyond your own intentions and so my way is to walk forward into the work looking for something and being open to finding something else altogether.
My subjects are typically not grand, they are you and me – a little awkward in their common work-a-day holiness. They are often not “getting it”, or perhaps getting it wrong. They are misunderstood, like you and I are misunderstood, but loved and lovely too. They are a little heavy footed in their dancing, a little disheveled in their useful and inscrutable activities, a little disoriented in their best of intentions. The subjects in my paintings are metaphorical and mythological autobiography and when it is working, they are you too.
I admit frankly to the pursuit of truth and beauty. I also admit that the aspects of these principles that draw me in are illusive and difficult to comprehend. I cannot fathom what they are independently, let alone combined. They are not things to be manipulated and controlled by me. I find them often enough to at least keep me at it, and each occurrence has aspects that are unique and unrepeatable. I feel a bit like I’m looking for a home I can’t quite remember – a foreigner trying to fit in an alien circumstance, but truth, love and hope persist and build and remind and change me. Being changed for better or worse is invasive. Building often involves excavation. Life and art require a million coarse and delicate adjustments. Healing involves comfort and crisis, triumph and overthrow, invasion and retreat. It takes discipline and practice to enjoy reality because it is never only limited to the fun parts. Life requires healing which necessitates work and courage. These things do not exclude rest and joy and even fun. If you need surgery, you will want a surgeon who is not afraid to use a saw, but not one who has no other tools.
If my work is to ever be important, it will not be because I was successful in trying to second guess the multitude. It will be because what I found to be authentically important to me, is, or becomes, authentically important to many others. I believe in the importance of beauty, but must acknowledge that it can be both an effective conveyor of truth and also a distraction from it. Perhaps it is linking truth and beauty in their uncountable facets that should be hoped for and sought. This linking is a pursuit, not a location, and artworks that are the proper byproducts of that searching are good for us even when most fall short of the actual fusion. I believe that I have found this truthful beauty to envelope birth and death, union and isolation, victory and defeat, knowledge and bewilderment, pleasure and agony, profundity and silliness, and as I desperately scan the horizon for solutions, I sometimes look down to find them right on my lap.