Two Worlds Make a Third
Painting for me, is in part an escape from the world of words. I find myself second guessing what I say, whereas when I’m painting I know that I can always cover or modify what I’ve thrown on the canvas before anyone sees it. I also find, that wrong words can’t be appreciated in the same way a mark that is off kilter can. I like that level of tolerance, which I think allows for the making of a beautiful mess. There is also a certain freedom in being able to change one thing constantly, rather then add one word after another like you would in a verbal sentence. Writing, painting and many other ways of making allow for rumination and fabrication. One of the things that seperates painting from writing however, is that you experience a painting all at once, rather than word by word. A painting is a false unity in a sense. A frozen frame in time, artificially still. Remnants of a performance, like a highlight reel from a basketball game. As for my art, I don’t have a concrete purpose to achieve like getting the highest score, or how in conceptual art there is a concept that is to be conveyed either literally or with abstraction. There are forms of art that work even more directly, for example propagandha posters that have a didactic purpose. This is literal but often done subversively.
The world of ideas may be a slave to the material one, though I find it seperate enough to be of its own world. Through our consciousness we interact through both. There are three worlds in this sense, and in many others. The phenomena of time is handled with a 3 point system, past, present and future. Positioning in space is determined with X, Y and Z coordinates. In myth and story telling, there is often a triadic function wether that is the instance of alliteration or how goldilocks has too much, too little, and then just enough. Take abstraction and representation for example, as labels they are ideals that fall short as an explanation without recognizing at least a partial role of the other.
There is enough abstraction in these images for them to be abstract paintings, though there is still an element of representation. I would argue, that any time something is RE presented there is some level of abstraction. That goes both ways, in that abstraction also always has elements of representation. In abstraction, there is the representation of internal process, where as in representation there is an abstraction of external elements.
Art to me is this process that occurs between what is to be portrayed (known or unknown) and what is produced. We as artists are a 3rd variable, mediating between input and output. What is left out can say as much as what is kept, and it is through language that we distort and reveal; turning phenomena into elements. I can choose to represent what I experience from my senses, or I can represent what I’m experiencing on an inner level. It’s usually both, but leaning in one direction or the other.
It’s easy for me to romanticize abstraction, though it’s worth noting that there are a lot of negative instances of it. In economics, goods and services are given abstract values, which shift and change over time. Often, things become more valuable then they deserve to be. Complex character can be reduced to stereotype with abstraction.
I’m attracted to the movement and busyness in cities like New York, the buildings on the coast have a similar level of aesthetic complexity. The more complex an image is visually, the easier it is for me to make more marks without repeating myself. I try to use short strokes and curves that build upon each other, creating characteristic from the combination. In my mind there are 3 types of marks you can make. Curves, lines and then combinations of the two. I like to think that it’s always the third and latter option. A curve is an ideal, best executed by a computer, and same with the line. Never perfectly straight but always with a slight variance.
Selection is a big part of the artistic process. It begins for me, with the selection of an image from a database of photographs, which is made up of other artists who contribute their work openly with no restrictions for use. Then there is the selection of the paint. I’ve selected red, white and black for some of these as I think red as a colour has the most impact, which helps in creating an energy or movement to the work which mimics the subject matter. There is also all the variances between those 3 colours when they’re mixed. I’ll often use the same brush for different colours to get interesting combinations. I feel a deep intuition when I work which I use to judge what should be erased, transformed or kept on the canvas. It is a triple threat position. Some of these images are more liberal with colour hue. In those instances, I start by picking one colour, and then pick others until I have a full pallete.
When I paint I am both simplifying and making the image more complex. This simplification makes gaps which gives style room to exist, and when the style is injected there is an added complexity. The world of the image is translated into a 3rd, with the second being my input. This collaboration gives birth to a new entity which is the painting. I as the artist interact with the static subject that is the photograph, giving it a new life. It is a deeply intuitive process, which I don’t pretend to fully understand. I’m not a religious man, though painting is an almost spiritual activity for me. These paintings serve as a formal beginning, so I thank you for sharing that with me.