NAAS (New American Art Studio)

The Best New Contemporary Art of our time.

Harry Spitz
  • Male
  • New York, NY
  • United States
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Artist's Statement

I think of my paintings as icons or totems derived from biological forms. Each image is conceived whole in the mind and performed (written) and refined on canvas, paper, plaster or computer screen.

The Kayak Roll (http://www.qajaqusa.org/QK/rolls/rolls.html) is one of those skills that can change ones sense of oneself. Learning to roll can be terrifying. One has to purposely capsize ones boat, then use the paddle to grip the surface, you use your hips and knees to flip the boat right side up, then you bring your body out of the water and finally the head comes up last. This head up last maneuver is counter-intuitive; after all we all want to bring our heads out of the water first. No matter how well the novice understands the principles of rolling (intellectually) most people try to roll with a tremendous effort applied to the paddle, then they try to wrench themselves out of the water head first. Of course this means that the roll won't work and this improper form could even dislocate a shoulder.

I make my art with the same type of visual, muscle memory that is used in the Kayak Roll. I also find a similarity with the sweeping curves used in the roll and the sweeping curves in the gestural marks that I use in my work. My paintings are hieroglyphs that tell visceral stories. I believe that there are archetypal images that are part of our beings. We are attracted to the shapes and colors of ripe fruits and women's bodies. We are repelled by sharp teeth and snake shapes. I believe that these archetypes are wired into our brains and are basically part of our beings. I am trying to find these icons within myself and use them as keys to unlock the visual depository.

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