Thoughts about my painting practice

Update 12/4/22

Chance and intuition play heavily throughout the history of abstract painting and I embrace that part of this modality. The allure of creating objects that are an exchange of energy between the maker and viewer has also motivated me since I began making Art as an undergraduate student. The framework of interconnected, isometric cubes- a type of automatic drawing- which I use serves as a constraint to both focus and free the use of intuitive, creative energy (spontaneity, the word artists use instead of play).

I am also interested, within my practice and my life, in the idea that two dissonant concepts or conditions can simultaneously be true. Painting is by nature flat (a surface) and can imply space/depth. Compositionally, the cube shows up as both an element and a structure. Isometric cubes are 3 trapezoids that form a pattern, and can also imply a solid shape given variation in tone betwixt them. In the case of my work, many of the cubes’ orientation in space can also be understood from vantages which contradict each other.

At this point in western history we all see the cube as a representation of early, Modernist ideas of nonrepresentational painting. That intention works for me, as a place to enter the work, since formalism is what my practice looks like in the studio. I also don’t see the works themselves as signs that exist to point to something else, like an idea. For this reason, I don’t title pieces before they are shown, so the audience will engage first in looking without anchoring to or filtering a concept. The distinction I am drawing here is between looking at a thing on its own terms and talking about that act of looking and its phenomenological, social and historical implications. I am interested and engaged in both activities.

Personally, cubes have additional content for me, whether from time (hours!) spent in childhood assembling blocks to time spent rendering simple spaces in first year of architecture school, or to the wireframe computer animation of the late 70s and early 80s that was an aesthetic cultural shift I got to witness.

Historically speaking, there’s nothing left Painting has to do. Focusing inwardly, on the work, becomes much less fraught, I think, in an era when that activity doesn’t mean a vacuous adherence to silly ideas about the true nature of things, or simplistic celebrations of ingenuity.

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