HARRY ALLY

"Uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding." Art & Fear


"I've always been fascinated with the figure, fascinated in how man has an innate need to define his existence through concepts of religion and mythology. For me, painting is a mark-making process that emphasizes the physical in search of the spiritual. It is a search for meaning only experienced through visual markings and images of man."
  • "Animism": spiritual existence in the inanimate
  • "Mark": primal urge, evidence of existence.
  • "Artifact": vessel, container of the human spirit.
  • "Excavate": search, probe beneath the surface
Harry Ally
"Jacob Landau's theory of necessary distortion has buttressed my understanding of form and content. I decry naturalism as useless and uninforming. From the observable phenomenon the wise artist employs distortion to achieve reality. Artists have universally and necessarily distorted in achieving their vision. Not to distort is not to invent; not to distort is not to magnify or diminish, or simplify or make complex."
Leonard Baskin
"I could make a hundred drawings for each one I get. I am positive that by rubbing out, and trying to do better, and knowing I can do better, the whole drawing gains a kind of history and substance that it didn't have before." "I am not erasing because I couldn't get the object accurately, but because I am hoping for grace to come to me. I don't think hard work makes a good drawing...if I erase, it's because I didn't get what I wanted the first time and if I don't get it by the twentieth time let's say, and the paper is halfway gone, then I start to patch the paper...The quest is to keep the thing alive--the drawing and the state of grace." "When I start a drawing, I just look very hard and begin to make marks, and then erase the marks, and build up this history of marks...I do know that I never see a figure totally; I always see just a part of it. I try to see how it is put together. But I just make marks. I like to sully the paper, to get into it and make a bit of a mess and get going."
Jim Dine
"After thirty years of fascination with the figure, I realize that the first drawing or sculpture created by man was in reference to himself and how he saw himself. The human figure is inexhaustible in its ability to convey a tremendous variety of ideas. For me, this is a continuous process in which I find that I am not attempting to work toward a conclusion."
Manuel Neri
"The first several days of painting are almost blindfolded. The first day I might just cover the canvas with color or some image. It's just to get rid of all that white, or begin to get a surface. I'll knock stuff around in an absentminded or erratic way, not making any hard decisions, until I reach the point at which I've rendered something that I like. When I have , when I've found something that I really like, then I want to save it. This means that I have to make the rest of the painting come up to it. That's when the painting becomes concentrated and specific decisions are being made. Usually what happens is that the rest of the painting has moved beyond the part that I was trying to save. That part is holding the rest of the painting back. So I have to destroy the part that I loved. That's a very painful, frightening moment. When those moments of change occur, I feel very vulnerable. I feel I'm going into the unknown."
Eric Fischl
"Control, apparently, is not the answer. People who need certainty in their lives are less likely to make art that is risky, subversive, complicated, iffy, suggestive or spontaneous. What's really needed is nothing more than a broad sense of what you are looking for, some strategy for how to find it, and an overriding willingness to embrace mistakes and surprises along the way. Simply put, making art is chancy - it doesn't mix well with predictability. Uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding."
Art and Fear - David Bayles and Ted Orland
When asked why he made the feet so disproportionately large on his figures, Giacometti's reply was, “ I don’t know.”
Alberto Giacometti
"I want to express the quality of erosion in the loss of limbs over time..."
Stephen De Staebler
"People ask me, 'Don't you ever run out of ideas?' In the first place I don't use ideas. Every time I have an idea it's too limiting, and usually turns out to be a disappointment. But I haven't run out of curiosity."
Robert Rauschenberg
"I had the desire to paint the figure without actually painting the figure. The figure is a presence, a part of the ambience of the painting, without feature, a column of activity that spoke of the figure without clearly defining it."
Nathan Oliveira