On the Artist
An artist discovers as he creates in his work the imaginative terms of his future. As such, Andrew Groffman has been creating a many-colored pleasure dome for any viewer fortunate enough to be along for the rewarding ride. Pleasure made--built--painstakingly, to be perceived in a look and carried forward as a measure of the artist's ability to prolong and deepen the sense of time wherein things otherwise steadily wear down. The restorative power of pleasure: visually immediate color, line, rhythm, and form--cohering--translate into new feeling, awareness renewed.
A brief biography: Groffman, born in New York City in 1949, was raised in Chicago where, from age 7 to 13, he attended the Chicago art Institute. After studying with Wilbur Niewald at the Kansas City Art Institute, he graduated with honors in 1972. He briefly attended graduate school at the University of New Mexico and for the next seven years was primarily devoted to landscape painting in the Southwest. In the fall of 1980 he moved to San Francisco due to an increasing need he felt for an urban motif which the city offered. Realizing a sense of form from the study of nature was a discipline which he saw as being complete and self-contained, and not merely a stepping stone to some other style.
Groffman's paintings evoke a deep, abiding fascination with nature, as well as a healthy respect for the particulars of, as he says, "the everyday, the ordinary, and the mundane," which he heightens by acute attention. A hilltop street through which the eyes are delightedly led from light-stippled trees and checkerboard houses sloping vertically downhill. Patterns of deep earth tones, broken by swathes of shadow and bright sunlight leading to a body of water whose molecular structure vibrates with all the watery tones in the blue and green spectrum. Balancing force and counterforce, mass and motion, keeps the space alive and energetic, open to possibility.
A dresser, some tropical-colored--nearly DayGlo--neckties hung from an open drawer like the peeled back edges of travel posrers, slivers of exotic landscapes, a black shoe left at the dresser's foot, and the dresser itself, palpable with the bulk and solidity of Cezanne's "The Black Clock". These are as well a nod toward precursors like Hopper, Diebenkorn, Thiebaud, and James Weeks with their shared aura of still space, and joy in primary colors of Matisse. There is a conversation with the past while generating mutations that are a part of the give and take of the creative process.
Groffman describes his intention with hope "That these things may transcended, express something larger, the unity of vision interlocked with the humanity of the painter which embody the artist's fundamental drive,". Where the mundane and the marvelous overlap is a matter of intensity of seeing, not of subject matter. Thus Groffman would have us slow down our sense of time to more fully inhabit these moments salvaged from daily influx. Here is a vision which does not delude us with what is not there, but summons what has always been present in front of our eyes.
--adapted from Jack Marshall