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.
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.
Today I installed this new exhibition at Joe Squared restaurant and bar (North Avenue, Baltimore, where I have been going since they opened ten years ago across the street from my old studio building, this show has been a long time in development and I am super excited about it.
Twenty-two paintings from three different series of these aquatic art works spanning the past year and a half, a lot of brand-new work exhibited here for the first time, and all for sale at prices from $100 to $300 … see more posts below for details
More pix coming soon, please stop by and check it out, reception date to be announced …
This intricate machinery underlying civilization demonstrates interconnectedness, granularity and the inherent conflict resulting from a wrench in the works, another street art-inspired howl from the denizens of the deep, even as they/we harness the frustration of containment and continue in pursuit of learning.
I look for patterns of movement within the painted surface, to bring out the silhouettes of fish I can see there as if they were already swimming in that space, and use color to enhance those patterns and establish a sense of natural movement, in this process of composition is the wabi-sabi of technical inclinations and gestural intuition, and it makes me want to swim with the fish.
I express through this painting a sense of intensity conveyed through a scenario of encroachment, perhaps there is irony in the idea that the ocean could feel crowded, what might be close quarters for people probably feels like safety in numbers to fish in a school, yet visually within these layers and near collisions the idea comes across that our interconnectedness does indeed have both positive and negative connotations, for the most part there is a joyful noise yet we often seek some respite from the constant rush and bustle, this dualistic sensibility makes it perplexing yet exuberantly sought after to dive in and revel in the depths of experience.