All of the works below are created from previously completed paintings (see if you can spot them here and here). Beyond the obvious relationship to working with the physical cubes, and despite the fact that they are being presented as compositions, they seem to me to ground choice as prime in a way that the other paintings don’t (not that this difference makes these stronger, just… different).
I am intrigued by the way overlapping some the cubes implies they exist in some other space, together, but which is not defined (the white of the wall). I hope I’ll get the opportunity to show them all together so I can see how the ones composed with cubes from multiple sources look in the same space with ones that all came from the same original source.
Avoiding painting right to the edge of the canvas has definitely become the new direction at this point, as well as creating drawings on acetate first and then projecting them. (I think) utilizing strips of tape to mask off grid lines is likely to feature heavily over the near term. Recycling/editing prior work will be a piece of this… piece as well (the first three images are elements of this piece which I will revisit in this newest one). In the end I took a turn away from the juxtaposition of purple, green and yellow so I’ll have to come back to that in another piece. I’m also continuing to find that how the edges around the “objects” are treated is crucial, and can be approached as a surface itself.
I’ve got a stack of studies in my studio that range from small, painted studies to collages to drawings. I’d had my eye on revisiting the first image below which may be 3 years old for a while before starting this painting. One of the goals was bringing some real physicality so burlap was the clear substrate choice. Also stepped down in scale for this one- feels like I should have some smaller work in inventory (24″ x 30″ final size, stretched).
I got super interested in texture after finishing this piece (on burlap) and am taking a different approach with this one (on linen, a super fine alternative to the heavy weave of burlap) which got under way at the same time (and is now also done).
First image is a study I did to see just how thick I could get with some acrylic gel and still get the texture of the burlap… second pick shows how physical this substance is. The drawing was a freestyle directly onto the canvas which I haven’t done in a while (and probably won’t repeat).
I also thought a lot about the idea of the composition and materials feeling Modernist and letting the palate- while still “retro”- harken to later in the 20th Century.
This one is based on the study in the first image, and is (sort of) a follow up to the last medium sized piece I did which, I think, demonstrates that stopping the compositions at the edge of the canvas is arbitrary and has a cropping effect that wasn’t adding to the work (and that conversely, a grouping of cubes/shapes implies dimension more strongly if you can see its outer “edge”). I did the composition drawing on a sheet of acetate so it could be oriented as it fit best (via projector) onto this piece of muslin, which will be the color of the grid lines. I am finding that I can still free-style drawings before starting to paint, giving myself the optionality to do some editing, and still have plenty of ability to make choices “in flight.”
The blocks have helped me realize that the way I was treating the edge of the canvas was sort of like cropping or masking something larger, and was completely arbitrary. So, I took an older sketch, transferred it to transparency, fired up the projector and started on this journey utilizing the color study that is the first image.
I’ve written, and talk, about the act of making choices- reacting to what happened previously- as a subject of my work. It’s occurred to me that this can include taking parts of a composition that I like the most and doing something new them.
The first image below was the original study to see what that approach might look like if I considered these selections to be distinct works, and also re-explore some notions I’ve had that edge of a rectangular canvas can be somewhat arbitrary for this compositional strategy. The middle piece is my first attempt at mounting one on panel, suspended off the wall to create shadows of the object that also relate to the cubes themselves.
More to come- I’ve got 4 other prior canvases stripped off their stretchers…
untitled, acrylic on canvas on board, 18″x23″, 2020
As I was working on the final stages of this piece, I solicited some input from George McKim, who offered a few suggestions in the form of edits to the image I sent him (the first image below). I hadn’t really paid attention before then to how both of our drawing/compositional strategies often had cubes in common. I suggested that his edits made me think we should try to work through the process of collaborating, and so the piece below began, in my studio.
Pretty excited to take this little study to scale.
I’ve been thinking more and more about how my paintings should perhaps have a bit more limited vocabulary (given how successful I feel like the last one I completed is), especially since I’m also experimenting with being more selective about which passages of my more… playful (IE less planned) painting ends up in a composition.
Also? The second image is effectively a study for the next painting that will follow this one!