cjrosenthal.myportfolio.com


If I am being honest, neither in my daily artistic practice nor in my worldview can I say that I consciously adhere to the particular philosophies proclaimed by either Breton or Goll. My work is more in line with the aesthetic ideal of surrealism: the visual expression of the subconscious. The primary kinship I share with the historical movement is in the way the images I create are borne from visions or dreamlike states of consciousness. I work from ideas that dance around the edges of my mind for weeks or months. These images spring directly from my imagination, via a sort of effortless stream-of-consciousness flow, automatically cultivated since childhood and further refined throughout marijuana-infused teenage years; so that sitting down with a sketchbook and drawing without thinking is simply second nature. In this practice I suppose I may claim to achieve a form of 'psychic automatism,' although for me it seems far more playful than that sounds.

Aside from the pen doodles that fill my sketchbooks, I seldom make preparatory sketches; I simply decide one day that it's time to introduce a concept to the wild. The only forethought is whether or not to begin on a dark or white ground. I draw with a thin mixture of sienna or umber and flake white. I model and add tones with the same colors. Once the surface is dry, I add color and form, wet in wet. I do this until I'm satisfied, which may take weeks. I add color glazes, sometimes as highlights, often across the entire painting. The work evolves as it progresses, takes its own path and often develops well beyond the initial concept, taking on a life of its own. Sometimes I feel as if I am engaged in a battle of sorts with a painting. Many ideas are painted in, abandoned and painted over. This process may take several months.

In the end, my work is a whimsical juxtaposition of familiar yet disparate images, placed together to create something not yet seen. This approach, beginning as it does with the eye of an individual artist, rather than with a philosophical argument or movement or group, and resulting in an image that seems familiar yet bends reality (and that could just as well have been produced in the 1920's), is a thoroughly modern convention and is perhaps the very definition of 'New Surrealism'.