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Life Arts

Leon Golub – Picturing Some Complications of Power

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"I have always dealt with stress and violence. This comes from my own state of mind. Now, what I have tried to do since I've always dealt with subjects like this, is try to understand what this means, and I have tried to make this an instrument for viewing...a probe into the nature of the world. In other words, if I find that I'm dealing with, let's say stress, vulnerability--actions of this kind--then I want to understand what this means in terms of events outside of myself, how this influences me, how this influences others and what I can say about the modern world through these meanings. Mercenaries, interrogations, the white squads: they all deal with this kind of thing brought up to date, brought into the immediate, into what I think of as our immediate, instantaneous, contemporary world.

Now, I do not claim, as an artist, that I represent the whole world. The world is too complex, too many things going on. I can only tell a bit of the factual situation about one aspect of the world. It is, I think, a relatively true aspect and an aspect that I have studied as extensively as I know how. So I deal with certain kinds of subject matter, which I try to do as intensely and extensively as I know how. I try to do it to emphasize a point, almost instantaneously, to make it a direct, perceptual thing, easily recognizable, something we are totally cognizant of, and something which operates immediately upon our lives. So it is an attempt to comment on the world in which we exist."

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- Excerpt: "Leon Golub Talks of Painting," Interview, Arts Insight Magazine, Indianapolis, Part I, May and Part II, June 1982. Courtesy, Arts Indiana Magazine; Courtesy, Helen Ferrulli.*

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I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)

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