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.
An intimate look at an imaginary aquatic world, fish drifting over the manufactured reef of industrial artifacts, their altered habitat for the foreseeable future, unnatural yet beautiful in its own disconcerting way.
Playing with scale, saturated colors and some street-art inspired techniques, I created this vision of the aquasphere where the fish camouflage themselves to blend in with the accumulation of industrial machinery discarded to meld with the coral reef, it is surrealistic yet plausible in today’s world.
Within a brightly-colored school of ten fish, my eye will naturally travel throughout the painting and ultimately I will identify, subconsciously or otherwise, one particular creature that stands out and is in turn symbolic of some aspect of my psychology or personality. Shadows on the cave wall, kill or be killed, hunt and gather, swim towards the light.
This painting is a good example of things coming together, the underlying piece emerged in my studio last fall as the finale of a lengthy series of about fifty studies on paper, and the combination of composition, color palette and mood express the beauty and irony inherent in this series.
Meaning that the conditions of the undersea habitat create an environment that is both beautiful and haunting, hospitable and deadly, and the emotions of the fish swimming in the ocean are the same emotions we humans feel in our own tumultuous wild world of consensus reality.
By applying another handful of painted cut-outs on top of the main composition I have made it more crowded and multi-layered, while also using some flatter colors against the more complex underlying paint work to create shadow play that paradoxically rests on top of the layer underneath.
This to me is where the psychological implications are brought to light, I feel that my own preoccupations with what’s going on in society are naturally shared by many people, and the idea of social justice rests upon a framework of relationships, in a crowded world we need to push for our collective goals or we risk getting caught up in the swirling vortex of broader currents we cannot control, in other words activism is essential yet we must also go with the flow.
So this is the type of painting that upon completion inspires me to want to do another dozen or a hundred more because I feel like I am on to something, to any viewer it might be a useful statement or a nice piece of decorative art or a profound psychological commentary, but to me it is a piece of the puzzle and reminds me that I am on the right track, applying my time in the studio to the exploration of important questions and occasionally being rewarded by something that looks like a valuable answer.