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Philip Guston Quotes

Quotes by Philip Guston - (38 quotes)

Philip Guston - From the Abstraction category:

When I see people making 'abstract' painting, I think it's just a dialogue and a dialogue isn't enough. That is to say, there is you painting and this canvas. I think there has to be a third thing; it has to be a trialogue. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Artists category:

We are image-makers and image-ridden... We work until we vanish. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Artists category:

Many works of the past (and of the present) complete what they announce they are going to do, to our increasing boredom. Certain others plague me because I cannot follow their intentions. I can tell at a glance what Fabritius is doing, but I am spending my life trying to find out what Rembrandt was up to. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Beginning category:

To paint is always to start at the beginning again, yet being unable to avoid the familiar arguments about what you see yourself painting. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Construction category:

Painting and sculpture are very archaic forms. It's the only thing left in our industrial society where an individual alone can make something with not just his own hands, but brains, imagination, heart maybe... (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Creativity category:

I am a night painter, so when I come into the studio the next morning the delirium is over. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Destiny category:

Usually I am on a work for a long stretch, until a moment arrives when the air of the arbitrary vanishes, and the paint falls into positions that feel destined. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Difficulty category:

There are so many things in the world - in the cities - so much to see. Does art need to represent this variety and contribute to its proliferation? Can art be that free? The difficulties begin when you understand what it is that the soul will not permit the hand to make. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Dissatisfaction category:

Sometimes I scrape off a lot. You have on the floor, like cow dung in the field, this big glob of paint... and it's just a lot of inert matter, inert paint. Then I look back at the canvas, and it's not inert - it's active, moving and living. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Drawing category:

It is the bareness of drawing that I like. The act of drawing is what locates, suggests, discovers. At times it seems enough to draw, without the distractions of color and mass. Yet it is an old ambition to make drawing and painting one. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Education category:

Then you learn about composition, you learn about old masters, you form certain ideas about structure. But the inhuman activity of trying to make some kind of jump or leap, where (even though you naturally have to paint - after all a painting is only a painting), the painting is always saying, 'What do you want from me? I can only be a painting.' You have to go from part to part, but you shouldn't see yourself go from part to part, that's the whole point. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Excellence category:

Look at any inspired painting. It's like a gong sounding; it puts you in a state of reverberation. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Fear category:

I come into the studio very fearfully. I creep in to see what happened the night before. And the feeling is one of, 'My God, did I do that?' (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Finishing category:

The canvas you are working on modifies the previous ones in an unending, baffling chain which never seems to finish. What sympathy is demanded of the viewer? He is asked to 'see' the future links. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Form category:

Where do you put a form? It will move all around, bellow out and shrink, and sometimes it winds up where it was in the first place. But at the end it feels different, and it had to make the voyage. I am a moralist and cannot accept what has not been paid for, or a form that has not been lived through. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Frustration category:

Frustration is one of the great things in art; satisfaction is nothing. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Illusion category:

The painting is not on a surface, but on a plane which is imagined. It moves in a mind. It is not there physically at all. It is an illusion, a piece of magic, so that what you see is not what you see. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Impossibilities category:

Painting seems like impossibility, with only a sign now and then of its own light. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Interest category:

I'm not interested in painting; I'm not interested in making a picture. Then what the hell am I interested in? I must be interested in this process. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Masters category:

The things I felt... about certain painters of the past that... inspired me, like Cezanne and Manet... that complete losing of oneself in the work to such an extent that the work itself... felt as if a living organism was posited there on the canvas, on this surface... That's truly... the act of creation. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Methodology category:

Usually I draw in relation to my painting, what I am working on at the time. On a lucky day a surprising balance of forms and spaces will appear... making itself, the image taking hold. This in turn moves me toward painting - anxious to get to the same place, with the actuality of paint and light. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Miracles category:

Painting seems like some kind of peculiar miracle that I need to have again and again. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Miracles category:

Why I need this kind of miracle, I don't know, but I need it. My conviction is that this is the act of creation to me. That's how I have it. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Mysteries category:

There comes a point when the paint doesn't feel like paint. I don't know why. Some mysterious thing happens. I think you have all experienced it... What counts is that the paint should really disappear, otherwise it's craft. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Nature category:

I have a studio in the country - in the woods - but my paintings look more real to me than what is outdoors. You walk outside; the rocks are inert; even the clouds are inert. It makes me feel a little better. But I do have a faith that it is possible to make a living thing, not a diagram of what I have been thinking: to posit with paint something living, something that changes each day. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Obsession category:

To paint is a possessing rather than a picturing. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Painting category:

In my experience a painting is not made with colors and paint at all. I don't know what a painting is; who knows what sets off even the desire to paint? (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Problems category:

All these troubles revolve around the irritable mutual dependence of life and art - with their need and contempt for one another. Of necessity, to create is a temporary state and cannot be possessed... (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Questions category:

Do I really believe that? I make a mark, a few strokes, I argue with myself, not do I like or not, but is it true or not? Is that what I mean, is that what I want? (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Rhythm category:

That's what I mean by something grips in a canvas. The moment that happens you are then sucked into the whole thing. Like some kind of rhythm. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Routine category:

I go to the studio everyday because one day I may go and the Angel will be there. What if I don't go and the Angel comes? (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Rules category:

The canvas is a court where the artist is prosecutor, defendant, jury and judge. Art without a trial disappears at a glance. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Seeing category:

Probably the most potent desire for a painter, an image-maker, is to see it. To see what the mind can think and imagine, to realize it for oneself, through oneself, as concretely as possible. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Senses category:

I feel more as if I'm shaping something with my hands. I feel as if I've always wanted to get to that state. Like a blind man in a dark room had some clay, what would he make? I end up with 2 or 3 forms on a canvas, but it gets very physical for me. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Strategy category:

To will a new form is unacceptable, because will builds distortion. Desire, too, is incomplete and arbitrary. These strategies, however intimate they might become, must especially be removed to clear the way for something else... (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Studio category:

Studio Ghosts: When you're in the studio painting, there are a lot of people in there with you - your teachers, friends, painters from history, critics... and one by one if you're really painting, they walk out. And if you're really painting YOU walk out. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Thinking category:

Lots of artists who paint have the experience to one degree or another... where their thinking doesn't precede their doing... It's a funny thing, what I really hate yet I have to go through with it, is the preparation. (Philip Guston)

Philip Guston - From the Unknowns category:

What is seen and called the picture is what remains - an evidence. Even as one travels in painting toward a state of 'unfreedom' where only certain things can happen, unaccountably the unknown and free must appear. (Philip Guston)