A Rose Is a Rose
Guffogg’s series is partly inspired by Gertrude Stein’s sentence, A rose is a rose is a rose a rose in the 1913 poem, “Sacred Emily”. It is also inspired by his orchard located on the property of his Strathmore art studio in Central California. It has been said that, Guffogg starts his morning, Going and visiting his fruit trees, watering and weeding … and being completely inspired by the new leaves and the blossoming fruit for which they are harvesting per season. In these paintings, the artist is also playing with the sentence that Stein so passionately defended during her lecture at Oxford University where she said, When the Romantics used the word “rose” they were referencing an actual rose that was red, which has inhabited English poetry for a hundred years! In Stein’s case, she was referencing “that things are what they are”, she wanted to take the word away from the laws of identity by stating the first rose was about, the name of a person, the second rose a nod to the flower and the third rose referenced a concept. This was the beginning of universal debate. Guffogg further mentioned while at Cal Arts there was a similar controversy in the air about creating art. After rereading Stein’s poetry an inner dialogue come about where the artist has proposed the question to his viewer by way of his paintings, prompting the audience to consider Stein’s poem and decide for themself, which is the answer – Is a rose a rose? Regardless of this discussion, the paintings reveal line, color and lyrical shape, all distinct features of a Guffogg work. The paintings also unveil a musical score, as the visual language they express shines through their refined beauty of turning within to recall their own inner wisdom.