Place on Page: Musings from the Studio

Studio Visit

Oh hello, come on in... 

Oh hello, come on in... 

Its amazing what a white wall will do. 

I've been plugging along all summer on two bodies of work and I thought it was time to dust off the old blog here and send out an update on what has been going on in the studio.  As I mentioned when I started the new site, one project is a series of paintings for a show in September.  I'll post some updates on that in the next week or so.  I don't want to make a big reveal until that project is closer to completion.  However, a series of abstractions that I have been working on for a little over a year are coming together nicely.

When I say it's been a year, it has more to do with my process for making a picture than the actual labor over one single image.  For almost all of my career as a painter I have struggled with this notion of how to make an abstract picture.  What constitutes a contemporary image, color or mark?  How can one refer to past movements but stay fresh and relevant?  Once in grad school a student said that every time you pick up a paint brush you pick up the entire canon of painting history and must deal with it.  At the time this seemed like an end game.  The idea was completely daunting.  I decided that to make a modern picture (modern in the sense of now , not the movement in art), one had to deal with their own view of the world they currently live in.  I approach painting through abstraction because it helps me understand the world.  It forces me to think critically about what I see and never take anything at face value.  Abstraction begs multiple perspectives and multiple lenses.  It also demands deep looking and time, something that our current paradigm of quick, visual stimulation does not always foster.

So what does that have to do with process?  For me, process is  how I get to the deeper questions I am trying to answer.  I approach a work initially through color, and over time I scrape off, wipe away and severely edit the picture.  I use industrial tools like squeegees and trowels to apply and remove paint allowing for layers to reveal themselves over and over again.  Sometimes after months of painting, a final layer will be applied that completely closes off a section and creates a visual block.  other spaces that remain scraped away act as entry points.  In the end, these paintings  have one foot in an idea of "landscape" and the other in a completely process driven approach to paint, color and mark making.  Below is a gallery of some of these paintings and the early stages that I changed.  You'll see some images of first stages and then the almost finished paintings.  Enjoy!