Blasted a new layer on the art car before I drove down from Baltimore to Miami, and although I brought a crate of spray paint along and was hoping to make time to continue the work, we went to 7 shows in 4 days and I was way too busy driving back and forth from the Beach to the mainland and enjoying the intense immersion that art week has to offer …
But the new kumokuchuni art car will continue to evolve, it’s supposed to be 61 degrees here in Baltimore on Sunday, so maybe this weekend will bring a chance to move forward!
I posted another 75 photos on Facebook, so search my name and find me there if you want to see more pix of Miami Art Week 2016 art and architecture!
Even though the digital photographs of my paintings from 1998 through 2002 are so low-res, my memories of those hard-edged geometric compositions and decisive colors are sharp and clear.
This piece is a way of simultaneously looking back and also looking forward, I’ve been recapitulating and recapturing the raw energy and freeing it up even more than before, feeling inspired and also liberated by the fact of having completed several hundred of these types of pieces over the years (almost 700 paintings total, about half of these falling into the category of geometric abstractions)
And having worked out these nine new pieces this winter and early spring, I feel the energy and momentum to continue with this re-entry into the series.
So if I look back on these titles, and the pieces themselves, it’s gone beyond my previous concepts of Orders Of Magnitude, Ornaments Of Logic, and Urban Legends, and this series is simply encapsulated by the title of our upcoming exhibition
This is one of those elusive and dynamic abstractions that sort of shifts in and out of focus like rolling waves in the ocean, never in the same place twice but occupying a fixed space in the metaphysical realm, meditative and kinetic at the same time.
These pieces are largely inspired and informed by the mechanisms of urban built environments, transportation hubs like airports and freeways, yet also looking at those structures as metaphors for the synapses in the mind, metaphysical forms that are simultaneously fixed and linear while also emergent and biological or organic.
It speaks to my fascination with the object-oriented programming model in which we have embedded our thinking and immersed our experience in the new millennium; scalable, modular, granular, nested and hierarchical, with relationships emerging and synchronized at all levels.
This has been an intense experience, a very involved piece of work synthesizing the energy and pressure of a variety of personal and professional challenges
From a technical point of view, this painting includes the same kind of compositional intrigue that is becoming characteristic of this series, perhaps even more dramatic in the juxtaposition of the geometric and organic layers and the powerful color contrasts
Yet it still feels liberating and forward-looking, maybe coming from a darker corner while finding yet another path to emergence.
Another involved architectural painting with compositional focus way off center, some labyrinthine constructivist central elements floating above an intricate, organic underpainting
I feel there is a strong dualistic poetry there, and the intersubjective transference characteristic of our current times and emergence into spring, chaotic world news, urban dynamics, so many powerful social forces of upheaval
Perhaps being immersed in journalism also plays a role, as Arts & Culture Editor for What Weekly, I’ve been meeting a dozen or more new artists and writers each month since last October, assigning, writing and photographing new developments in Baltimore theatre, literature, architecture, visual art and other areas, so coming off of a hiatus from painting after the Aquasphere series, I have a lot to express through these new paintings.
In this process I’ve been working on 21 paintings over the past two months, I narrowed it down and set ten of them aside to focus on completing new pieces for an upcoming exhibition here at Motor House
This piece is typical of this series in that it consists of about seven or eight layers of paint on wood panel, I’ve worked in square format geometric abstractions for 18 years so I always enjoy pushing the boundaries in terms of color, composition and contrast as well as subtle painterly surface texture
Compositionally this piece kind of throws down the gauntlet, pushing the eye down to the lower right corner even as there are a few points of escape to keep our point of view circulating into the “background” and revolving through echoes and passages of dark shadows, a powerful tension of attachment and loss.
I’ve returned to Motor House, which used to be LOAD OF FUN, I had a studio there for four years (2005 – ’09) and this new space is smaller but the building has been renovated and I’m happy to be back.
I’m picking up where I left off, with a couple of projects in progress … I cut up the paper stencils remaining from the Joe Squared mural project, and have been using them to create some anachronistic geometric studies, right away there are some exciting images emerging and this will lead to more finely-tuned pieces at some point …
then these are some beautiful spray-paint on paper pieces I did back in May and kept on the shelf, quite a few of these have made their way into the Aquasphere series, getting cut and collaged and sculpted into fish and coral reefs, we’ll see where these go next …
This 28-inch square is in a way the culmination of my early geometric abstractions, numbering more than 350 paintings in a related style, because I began by working after Mondrian, and this is certainly an effusive homage to his best-known works.
Remarkable for the span of twenty years I took to bring this into focus, and also for the kaleidoscopic deconstruction and reconstruction of the form into numerous small compositions interspersed with ghostly grayscale vignettes.
Many of the adjacent squares are divided by super-fine half-millimeter paint lines resulting from the exceedingly careful application and removal of painter’s tape, a basic compositional tool that was newly available when Mondrian began to make use of it in creating his distinctive works, which have since become ubiquitous designs in everything from wallpaper to shower curtains to the facades of art supply stores.
His originals are mainstays of many museum collections of Modern art, and along with Kandinsky, Severini and a handful of others, Mondrian’s influential works not only form the foundation of 20th-century geometric abstraction, but also, along with the later works of Rauschenberg and Vasarely, provide an early premonition of the internet age through a pixelated grid of insight into the telepathic prosthesis of technology that was to come.
What is also kind of funny is that I raced through this 39th piece in the Urban Legends series without even recognizing it at the time for what it was, a pivotal moment in a twenty-year odyssey, and then continued the series a couple of years ago for another twenty-five pieces before taking a hiatus; so ultimately it was about that quest but the foundational pursuit was such a profoundly fertile source of inspiration and energy that it continued to generate new explorations long past the point of achieving this particular milestone.
This 24-inch square is a cinematic and decorative object as well as a textured color field, the bronze layer provides a warm and mystical counterpoint to the miniature surrealistic quadrangles arrayed in between; perhaps an homage to Frank Stella’s early work.