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.
Architecture filtered through a prism of memory and science fiction, this painting conjures a technological framework, yet explores the depths of composition and structure, while still expanding beyond the boundaries of logic.
It’s always a voyage of discovery to work through a color palette and then narrow it down or choose to refine those choices until completion, there’s a certain sense of containment and poetic minimalism, integrated with an explosive and intriguing puzzle.
Challenges abound, this piece I built up with multiple layers in a painterly expressionistic expansion that became really beautiful, and the imposition of geometry necessarily transformed the composition, yet it became something more, a literary metaphor, or as the title suggests, an exploration of subconscious facets of personality;
sometimes these pieces reveal the personalities concealed or integrated within our psyche, and as a painter you are not only an individual, you are also tuned in to a collective psychology, there is a theatrical quality to the drama of everyday life, and it comes alive through paintings like this one.
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.
The title of this piece comes from an Italian phrase, “Nella boca dell’ lupo” (this is a poetic corruption that I prefer to the exact translation)
“In the mouth of the wolf” is a saying familiar to theatre performers and musicians, it’s roughly equivalent to when people say “break a leg!” to wish someone success on stage
And it speaks to the intensity of pressure we all feel in trying to “perform” some kind of emergent transformation
So I see this piece as a very concentrated, focused and intentional yet spontaneous act of creation, one of the most successful expressions of this concept and one that visually conveys the intensity of trying to be centered and grounded while simultaneously liberating oneself to fly to freedom.
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.
My paintings are often intended to explore dualistic themes such as entropy and sustainability, alignment and chaos, geometric and organic forms, and designed to expand the visual lexicon of pattern recognition in a surrealistic, technological theme of prosthetic telepathy, the assimilation of consciousness into technology.
This is my first new painting for 2016, the beginning of a new series of free-style studies delving into the above ideas, thinking abstractly, picking up where I left off and mixing techniques and ideas old and new.
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 …