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.
There’s a collaborative quality to the schizophrenia of creativity, and the synthesis of elements, political, visual, social or whatever stripe, as powerful as the fundamental experience of attachment and loss is the experience of synthesis, bringing together disparate forces into some kind of new and innovative arrangement that satisfies and imperative.
In this case, I feel an expression of the flow of social and political commentary, local and national, an immersion in journalism and advocacy, yet within the collaborative community there is still an electrifying intensity and tension, this piece conveys some of those implications while also achieving synthesis, however fleeting, momentarily getting us immersed in the flow.
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.
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.
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.
Part of my fascination with these small-scale watercolor collage paintings is that they represent a vast expanse of ocean yet also appear to resemble an aquarium tank, the dualistic nature of this metaphor of containment is very appealing.
It could be a matter of attitude or perception, a Rorschach test for the viewer to see abundant space or confined space, brightly-colored fish in a beautiful environment or mutated fish in a hostile ocean.