Building Blocks

While painting is certainly my go-to medium, and I have work in progress, I’ve been spending a good chunk of my limited studio time lately building more of the wooden cubes that are the compositional elements in my installation work. Part of the reason for the shift in focus- beyond the fact that my focus tends to shift regularly (I don’t imagine that’s surprising to anyone who follows this blog)- is a series of proposals I’ve done or am working on that I hope will create some opportunities to interact with new spaces and create new, unseen compositions with all of the new elements I’m making (including an idea that is taking shape for how to engage an audience directly in co-creation, a follow up on the cube selector project)*.

My process for creating the cubes has a few stages. The primary material (scrap wood left over from the addition to our hone that included my studio) is assembled into either 6-sided cubes (second image) or masses of scrap (first image). In the latter case, the mass has to be squared up on a miter saw. The cubes are puttied and sanded, and then painted. After that, it’s time to assemble the end results with help from my studio assistant…

The end result are objects which I see as proxies for brushstrokes. Each of the cube’s 6 sides have unique surfaces/textures (a stand-in for impasto) and the color may be consistent/monotone or varied. The range of possibilities is vast, and yet constrained (by a single construct- “cube”- and a limited chroma/pallet). I’ve mentioned in my thoughts on painting the interest I have in truths that superficially seem to be contradictory, and in this body of work, the dualities at work are chance and planning, as well as the rigidity of a geometric form and the intuitive abstraction (something one would anticipate to be more fluid).

BTW, “yes,” building compositions with blocks has other, older associations for me than early Modernist strategies to foreground basic compositional strategies. While it might appear that I’m referencing early childhood play here (I’m not) it’s critical I think to be transparent about associations and also, while spontaneity and intuition are not in and of themselves “play,” the inner certainty that leads to choice isn’t necessarily different for me now, and a sense that something is “right” (compositionally) isn’t diminished because it’s origin is not semiotic or language-based. *Also, hopefully my next update will be regarding at least one of these opportunities manifesting in the form of a group show in Raleigh, stay tuned…

Author: sterlingsart

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

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