by Eric Whollem
gouache, parafin and metallic paint on paper
15 3/4" x 11 3/4"
Collection of the artist
COPYRIGHT BY THE ARTIST
A Pictographic Abstraction
The above painting incorporates elements from California
prehistoric rock art~specifically the circular forms with
dashes that run around the periphery. Such designs are
common in the rock art of the Chumash Indians of the
Santa Barbara area of Southern California.
One might observe that I have followed suit with the use
of form found in Abstract Expressionism, a movement
popular (that is to say among afficionados of abstract art)
in the late 1940's and 1950's.
Zen and Taoist Influences
A number of the Abstract Expressionists were influenced
by Zen calligraphy. Although this work in particular does
not bear any affinity to Zen art, I have studied the works
of Suzuki and other Zen masters. I always was impressed
by Huang Po and other Chinese Chan precursors of the
Japanese Zen. In Korea Zen is called Son Buddhism.
Chinese philosophy was a hobby of mine when I was in
college. I especially was influenced by Chuang Tzu, the
hermit nature philosopher. His teachings no doubt were
important catalysts to my immersion in nature over the
years. I have spent much of my life as a hermit in the
Sierra Nevada Mountains and foothills. . . in places such
as Palermo, Feather Falls, Swedes' Flat, and Concow.
This painting was painted in Swedes' Flat, an area in the
oak and gray pine studded foothills of Butte County. I lived
at an elevation of 1500 feet, just above the valley fog. I was
graced with views of hills and trees rising up out of an
ocean of fog in the winter. . . something archetypically
Readers interested in my FIGURATIVE ABSTRACTIONS should see this link: