Thursday, January 27, 2005

branching off

I was leafing through an old studio journal and came across something from a couple of years ago that was interesting. At the time of writing this particular entry, I was in the midst of begining the body of work that would be my focus for the past three years or so. This was when I had the space in the Goldtex Building, at 315 North 12th Street, just north of Vine Street. I was on the fifth floor on the north side of the building. From my windows I could see Anderson Hall, on Temple University's North Philly campus, where I studied art from '91-'94.

Besides some minor editing, this is the journal entry in full:


"Worked on some new pieces-new direction for a time. I was working on two small paintings for the upcoming Sketch Club show and just hit a wall with the 'bubble' images. I couldn't make them work no matter what I did. So I turned to the grid, or a variation of it. I needed something and the way I look at it, I've nothing to lose by trying something new. I'm pretty excited about the new paintings(I did four small ones and started a 4' x 4' piece based on one of the smaller works).

The geometric aspect of the new paintings doesn't feel as confinning as it used to . I thing that has to do with my emphasis on color and working with the hard edges instead of working against them. The combination of color and brushwork is used to keep the image 'moving'. I don't know if that makes sense, but there it is."


This piece of writing has stuck with me because it represents a moment in time when my visual focus shifted pretty radically. I went from mulitilayered compositions with a lot of organic imagery to paintings that were extremely geometric and more concerned with surface effects rather than pictorial depth of field.

The only carryover from one series to the other was my love of color-how various hues played off of one another and the interaction with the surface of the canvas or panel. This was one moment of many that have continued to inform my artistic practice of not allowing one way of working to dominate my expression. When it's time to try something new, I do all I can not to question it and just go for it.

That's what I find inspiring about art, the inquiry. Where I end up is not nearly as important or sometimes even interesting as how I got there. The sensation of attempting to bring something out of the void and making it physical is an all-encompossing one. I get swept up in surges of energy and emotion while painting and I can grab onto none of them. They well up and disperse before I can even identify what I'm feeling, and I never would be able identify what it is I'm feeling exactly when this happens; it happens and then it's gone again. That's why it's impossible to answer the ridiculous question, "So, what were you feeling when you painted this?" There is never any one thing and I'm hard pressed to even recall what was going on through my head and body at the time.

Art is a big question, or part of a conversation. The best art dosen't attempt to answer anything about life. It raises questions and makes people think, while at the same time, creating a space for the viewer to enter into a dialogue with the work(s) in question and experience thier own discoveries.
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