We tried mightily to write that pithy, well-researched post for you today, really we did. But with all this glorious sunshine making a mockery of our efforts (and our computer screens), how could we presume to argue with the very forces of nature on this, the first day of spring?

And so, instead of our regularly scheduled post, we bring you these exuberant images from Howard Fonda, an artist whose colourful palettes and experimental/experiential approaches to painting are quite literally reflective of his own philosophically humanist leanings, mostly sunny disposition, and sincere generosity of spirit.

The paintings shown here are selected from bodies of work dating from 2005 to 2011 (but are not shown in chronological order). After the jump is Fonda’s “Thoughts on Painting”, which accompanies his online portfolio, also linked below.


Thoughts on Painting
by Howard Fonda

The difference between representation and abstraction is like the difference between clouds and sky. The origin of the debate is more useful than the debate itself.

I see painting as a philosophical sanctuary and spiritual outpost.

I embrace painting’s traditions and limitations, finding comfort in them.

Painting is a vehicle of contradiction adept at conveying the hubris of, and understanding of, existence.

Painting is poetic and transcendent.

I find painting an articulate means of exposing a range of emotion, both rational and irrational. Both rational, and irrational, experience define existence.

Genre and form are choices like any other, used to articulate a cultural perspective and historical context.

Craft, form and content are equivalents.

Painting relies on truth and beauty.

Mystery begs to be demystified. Definitions beg to be redefined.

Judgment, itself, can be good or bad. Both “good” and “bad” can be good or bad or both. Judgment has less to do with art than one expects. Consideration and empathy are more useful.

Content is form. Form is content.

Academia, “institutions”, and “the market” are all equivalent.

In these times, critical analysis of art must contain a measure of academia, “institutions” and “the market”, as well as articulated taste.

The value of art is never fixed and is contingent on context.

Art is everything and nothing. Everything is everything and nothing. Nothing is everything and nothing.

Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is more important than knowledge.

Creating meaning and finding meaning are two different things. I am primarily interested in finding meaning.


See more on Howard Fonda’s website, which contains not only painting, drawing, writing, and exhibitions, but also a fantastic (for its honesty and the insight it provides) section featuring Failures, Bad Ideas, & Attempts, here

Howard Fonda is represented by Mixed Greens

images, from top to bottom:
Howard Fonda, Spring, 2005, oil on linen, 20 x 16 inches; Untitled, 2008, oil on canvas, 74 x 59 inches; Untitled, 2009, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches; Untitled, 2006, oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches; Untitled, 2011, oil on linen, 40 x 30 inches; Untitled, 2008, oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches