Never Complete

borshchDmitry Borshch discusses his art, which is viewable in the Eckleburg Gallery, and why only certain colors harmonize with white.
Eckleburg: What motivated you to make the works that are posted to Eckleburg?
DB: I distinguish between narrow and broad motivations, which may not always interact. The second type of motivation is a desire to speak as an artist — silence, especially artistic, is painful. The first involves being challenged by narrower, often technical problems — arranging successfully a group or one-figure portrait, succeeding as a landscapist, still-life painter.
Eckleburg: Why do you label your motivations as narrow or broad?
DB: Expression of one’s artistic feeling is broader, more significant than technique.
Eckleburg: What moves you as an artist? 
DB: I find moving whatever helps me to begin or finish a picture. It may cease to move me tomorrow, be totally unmoving to someone else today, but I am always willing to be moved by anything that contributes to the picture-making effort.
Eckleburg: What event or thing or person moved you to paint?
DB: So many events, persons!  I conceived ‘Bush-Maliki News Conference. Baghdad, December 2008’ after seeing that video of the shoe incident with Muntadhar al-Zaidi.
Eckleburg: What are your inspirations, and what are not?  
DB: I call nothing uninspiring, although it may be that today.  On another day inspiration will begin emanating from a source that I never felt could inspire.
Eckleburg: Why are all of your pieces in blue and white?
DB: Blue harmonizes with the very white paper I like to draw on better than other colors.  But not all my pieces are blue; ‘Odalisque in Red Satin Pantaloons (after Matisse)’ and some others are red.
Eckleburg: Is there a feeling associated with blue?
DB: Yes, but I restrain myself.  It’s better not to elevate one color above another — they are all wonderful.
Eckleburg: Why is “Odalisque” red and white?
DB: I tried to connect this picture not only with Odalisque à la culotte de satin rouge, Matisse’s lithograph, but also his famous painting L’Atelier Rouge, both in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Hopefully, the red I chose for this drawing will be seen as harmonious with the paper’s white.
Eckleburg: Isn’t any color harmonious with white?
DB: No, black and some other colors would look inharmonious on very white paper.
Eckleburg: What is your artistic process? How do you find a subject or theme to draw?
DB: Good, timely themes for a picture are found everywhere — Internet, newspapers, food bills.  I make written notes regarding a possible theme on the back of those bills, and usually accompany them with a little sketch. After a period, which could last weeks or months, I go over what was sketched and all the writing. Whatever excites me the most then is developed into a fuller work.
Eckleburg: Which piece would you like to work on some more?
DB: I continuously work on all of them, improving lines and background stippling.
Eckleburg: How do you work on these pieces if they are sold? Do you work on them in your mind?
DB: I have ‘master copies’ of all the drawings and return to them periodically for editing.
Eckleburg: What is your favorite piece?
DB: No favorites. I place contemporary history painting above allegories, so one of my pictures on your website, ‘The Loaded Kiss (Dmitry Borshch and Leemour Pelli),’ may be placed above others, but this hierarchy is subjective and personal; it should be disregarded by the viewer of those pictures.

Dmitry Borshch was born in Dnepropetrovsk, studied in Moscow, and today, he lives in New York. His paintings have been exhibited at the National Arts Club (New York), Brecht Forum (New York), ISE Cultural Foundation (New York), and the State Russian Museum (Saint Petersburg).


Art in the Information Age


MB Jones, an artist whose works appear in the Eckleburg Gallery, discusses his art, in the context of history and modernity. Click here to see his paintings.


A painting is a form of communication. It is the best form of communication because the audience simply can’t resist looking and reading into the image placed before them. It takes only a glance to be engulfed by a painting, before the image is burned into consciousness for a lifetime.

Sure, there is an academic tradition and dogma when it comes to reading a painting. University libraries are full with volumes of scholars battling over their reign as supreme arbiters for defining what is or isn’t art. Although all this may be necessary for the documentation of art history, the traditional academic fascism of how to interpret art is no longer relevant, having gone extinct sometime in the second millennium AD. Scholars are awakening to the fact that what has been termed art or art history is a semantic mistake that defines art by the narrow tradition of ‘classical’ Greco-Roman sculpture and European painting. With the advent of the Internet, modern travel, and general globalization, the public has emerged from the dark ages of information. The audience can experience art created by people of every cultural and socio-economic background. In short, exclusive rules on how to interpret art are superfluous. An adult can act as though a child by unknowingly looking at the color painted onto a large canvas and be moved to emotion, or just a smile. 

Color is everything: it is the line, the expression of form, the representation of light, it is space or the absence of space, and finally it combines to give the painting its identity that connects it to the physical world. In the case of my own work, my paintings are a place where colors are participating in a drama, interacting with one another, complementing and fighting. The articulation of the relationships between the colors stimulates the viewer’s eye by creating movement beyond the solid form of the painting. This velocity of color works to signify the subject, atmosphere, and identity of the painting. The history of painting is the history of color, the way it takes form to depict the subjects and emotions from the time period when it was created. 

From Descartes to the modern age, philosophers have recognized the advent of written language as the starting point of human civilization: it is what differentiates us from animals.[1] What is left then that connects the modern consciousness to our pre-history from before the birth of civilization? Before linguistic signs, our ancestors communicated with painting, as is exemplified by various prehistoric cave paintings. A recent study that juxtaposes the Neolithic Wadi Sora cave painting, “Cave of the Swimmer,” with early ‘Egyptian’ visual art depicts this transition. Both illustrations are composed of similar images and symbols; however, the only difference is that the Egyptian illustration included hieroglyphic text.[2]

Egyptian hieroglyphs are considered one of the earliest forms of writing in the world and in ancient Egypt,few major inscriptions lacked a referring image.[3] Art is the original form of visual communication passed down from our prehistoric ancestors, and perhaps this is the reason why it continues to have such a strong effect on modern consciousness. 

In the same way that art connects humans with their prehistoric ancestors, it also connects individuals with their childhood. As children, most people have had the experience of drawing or coloring unabashedly and creating art. Later, as they become socialized adults, most stop drawing and expressing themselves visually, for fear of creating ‘bad’ art. If they were lucky enough to keep the drawings of their childhood they would perhaps look on them and laugh, judging how they are aesthetically bad. In my case, my grandfather was a painter and encouraged my naive ‘scribblings’ as a child. Now as an adult artist, and an audience for other’s art, somehow the visual stimulation of painting connects me to this childhood experience and my grandfather. In the same sense, one of the most enjoyable aspects of being an artist is to watch this inner time-travel occur in others who look at my art. When I exhibit my work, I am able to experience how each individual appreciates a different aspect of my work, and how it connects with something deep inside their own emotions.

This new world is what separates the current artist from those of the past. Although painting is a tradition with origins from prehistory, we are now are working in the information age, where artists from everywhere can communicate with ease, exchange ideas, and travel the world casually, unlike any previous generation. In the past three years, I have worked in art studios in places such as South Korea, Laos, the Netherlands, and the United States. In each place, I absorbed the cultural and artistic traditions, which is reflected in my art. My painting is a product of the developments of the technological age and the environment of the global community in which I live.

[1] Chomsky, Noam. 2000. New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind. Cambridge. p.3.
[2] Le Quellec, Jean-Loic. 2008. “Can One ‘Read’ Rock Art? An Egyptian Example.” Iconography Without Texts. p. 25-42. The Warburg Institute. p. 35.
[3] Baines, John. 2008. “On Functions of Writing in Ancient Egyptian Pictorial Representation.” Iconography Without Texts. p. 95-126. The Warburg Institute. p. 113. 



MB Jones (1981-) Is a visual artist originally from western Massachusetts. While the style of his art is rooted in the American folk art tradition, his work also reflects his travels and past experiences living and working in art studios in the Netherlands, S. Korea, and most recently Laos. His work has been exhibited in commercial galleries and art fairs, yet he also embodies the underground DIY (do it yourself) movement in that he creates shows in unique places all over the world, exposing his art to new and unsuspecting audiences.