I am being ambitious and aiming to resist the temptation of quickly painting nice flowers, like the oversized ready to hang framed red Ikea flowers that are so seductive (see picture), as most of the images that surround us in the time we live in. It requires an effort that I aspire to. I believe there is a need for this kind of painting in general, and flowers in particular, that is crucial to our times, because it requires effort, moral involvement, quest of something that is beyond the quick and easy, and this is hard to find today. Current prevalent values in American society are freedom and money, which are blinding us from considering more essential ones. A few months ago I was astonished when I heard Scott Adams on NPR, artist-creator of Dilbert, making the apology of mediocrity while promoting his latest book How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big. At the same time, in the NY Times, there was an article about how to create inspirational thought leaders, by David Brooks. I saw these two a priori opposite statements as a symbol of the current times: On one hand there is the hope that good enough is sufficient, that external recognition and money are the sole validators and motivators of what we do. At the same time it suggests a vain quest for inspiration and elevation to the next step of development (vain because “inspirational” is not something made up that you can learn or buy, but something you are by doing). Elevating the debate, raising our expectations for us as sensitive and brainy elements is crucial to our times. Painting seriously is a way to pursue the quest to a more ideal world, moving towards the more development rather than towards the less, away from our so-called basic animal instincts and consensual tastes. Humankind is resourceful. I know there is more beauty in flowers than just the flowers, else I would just buy bouquets every week (which I do anyways). I want to capture that kind of beauty. Visual complexity is just beautiful. As is complexity in general.
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Dorothee Chabas is a painter and neurologist