I’ve been working on a series of installation pieces that I call remixes for some time now (below, dates to May of ’20). They began when I realized there were some elements of paintings that (as a whole) I didn’t feel resonated, and began to cut up the canvases and thumb-tack the parts to the wall, rearranging them as if the cubes or clusters of cubes were individual compositional elements. Remixes belong to my generation so I’m quite comfortable owning that nomenclature and “yes,” I’m also down with the idea that the experiential element of music is quite often similar to the experiential elements of visual art (and I’ll note that just because music remixes are the most familiar instance of this modality, remixing is not unique to the media).

To me, the act of intuitive “play” without a known or pre-determined outcome- an objective- is what makes much formalist abstract art, well, non-objective. There’s something more with these reassemblies than the element of play though- they create or imply space (that they exist in it) by their proximity and overlap. The “pop” between these “layers” is something I’ve thought and written and talked about over many years, and I’m certain the appeal has something to do with the influence that cel animation had on my aesthetics (which in many cases is cooler than anything I’ll ever make, see example from Akira below).

Of late, the compositions I’m exploring have not only scaled up (compare first image below of an early iteration to the last one) but also attempted to engage a more bombastic combination of chromas (second image). One of the things I learned when I showed them recently, too, is that, to enhance and foreground their experiential and temporary qualities, they should change each time they are shown. I’ve also recently purchased some lights so I can use one of the walls in my studio as a canvas (stage?) to work through new ideas/configurations (and capture the resulting compositions in hopes that I can also create some new opportunities for them to exist outside my studio).

Also been thinking about some of the artists I’ve enjoyed over the years that have at times made work that engages negative space and/or implied space: Elizabeth Murray’s frenetic cartoon energy that defied the notion of the painting as a rectangle; Stella’s late work that reflected back to society the impact of digital imagery that overtook hand-drawn graphic design at the end of the 20th Century; Al Held’s non-sensical labyrinths; and Elsworth Kelly’s always amazing ability to energize the space around a shape.

Author: sterlingsart

abstract painter living in Raleigh, NC- follow my blog to help build my mailing list!

One thought on “Layering”

  1. These are cool. I love the shadows that fall on the wall beneath the cubes too (in the third image down) because of the way you’ve lit them.

    Liked by 1 person

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