For me, the act of artistic creation is a whole-hearted affirmation of life. I make no separation between the many meanings of art and the many meanings of life. Whatever goes on in my paintings is ssimply an extension of whatever else I do or think from day to day, and year to year.
The way my paintings look, and feelings that they reflect, is not the result of self-conscious decision, but the result of a deeply felt need, and a given use of formal means. Both the need and the formal means are rooted in an extreme intensity of experience.
I do not seek to associate or identify with any particular approach, genre, or 'school' of painting. Style and approach evolve through time, from one painting or drawing to another.
My paintings are never 'about' a subject. Nor do they deal exclusively with some consideration or preoccupation about technique or form. Each painting is a summation and consolidation of innermost feelings toward a particular experience at a given time.
I am very much driven by a vague, abstract notion and ideal of beauty. I try to get some of this in my work.
At the moment, I am concerned with images which reflect my interest in the random and evocative marks and detritus of our civilization. Such phenomena, sometimes man-made and sometimes not, and often figured or disfigured by man, time, or the passing elements, holds for me a strong fascination. The power of its graphic imagery, often times calligraphic, suggests the haunting and hypnotic allure of magic signs which have no literal translation. My painting is not made for the purpose of reproducing or recording these phenomena. Rather I am interested in creating its counterpart, which, through its independent existence can convey similar and equally powerful visual projection.
I would like to use the calligraphic elements as a structural unit and to allow chance and the automatic processes the opportunity to leave their impression as they do in the actual counterpart. Conscious and reasoned control of the work is equally necessary and its manifestation, or lack thereof, is a measure of my limitations as an artist at this time.
- Dick Jemison, 1969
This artist statement was written in 1969 at the Student Arts League in Woodstock, New York. It seems as appropriate today as it was then. My search for beauty and the idea 'I don't have a philosophy about painting, just a deep need' remains the same.
- Dick Jemison, 2008