Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Decay of Sound," 2013

A longer than usual interval has passed since my last post here. Among the reasons, I've been very busy finishing up some work in the studio, and pulling together the materials for my upcoming online-only exhibition, hosted by Joe Walentini at the online Galerie Cerulean. Joe's concept this year is for his artists to assemble new work along with past work, to display a kind of arc over our journeys in abstraction. 

I will have six pieces completed 2012-13 in the show, which will commence online March 3, 2013; interspersed among them will be 6 other works completed at intervals from 1999-2011.  Four are works on paper and eight are oil paintings. I am titling the show after one of the recent paintings, (using poetic license to add a hyphen): "Echo-location."

None of the work I exhibited in the online exhibition last year will be included in this year's selection, but they are still on view for another week. Please have a look at the show in the Archive section of the site: "Re:Vision." The online gallery has three "walls," with four works each; find the arrow at the right under the fourth image to proceed to the next "room." Images are labeled, and open up slightly larger when you click on them individually.

Here's a little exposition of the development of one of the paintings finished just in time for the show:

This was the first sketch, drawn during a concert in my smallest sketchbook, which I carry with me.

A couple months later, I re-drew it in a studio sketchbook, a little larger.

The following month, I made a color version, flipping the image just for the sake of doing so.

During the summer I began painting the image on canvas over wood, 22 x 24 inches. I liked it when it was just four squares and wasn't sure I should carry out the drawing at all; but I've long been interested in exploring how to experience the action of painting in a way more similar to how I experience drawing - it's something intimate, I don't know how else to say.

Work proceeded very incrementally, which is not uncommon for me. Sometimes it's like sitting and watching reflections on the surface of water.

Even though I have a drawing to begin, at every stage I am questioning whether I want to take that path, or another.

 I imagined it could stop at any of the stages so far seen. I didn't think I necessarily had to end up where I'd begun, but I did fall in love with some passages of color. In this phase, I used a material to stencil some inflection into the blue, but at the top left, I decided to leave the fabric that was meant to be stencilled in the paint, to be part of the painting's surface. I'll show a detail at the end.

Sometimes I have to obliterate something I love, to make something that will feel more honest. It's really unusual for a painting to unfold in such an orderly way as this. I felt more doubt at each step than might be imagined. But I did love some of the color relationships, which depended on this slow building process to have the effect I love.

As much as the palette was pleasing me, I was a little depressed and couldn't tolerate it. I was beginning to hate this painting.

More "drab" was feeling more real. That color of the downward triangle felt ugly, just as I wanted.

That upper left quadrant wanted to be darker and deeper, more animate.
Here's the finished painting, "Decay of Sound," 2013, oil on canvas over wood, 22 x 24 inches; photographed by Fernando Gaglianese

Here's a detail, so you can see: I left in some crinoline I was going to use only as stencil, as I had used some cast-off packaging material in the blue field below.

I hope you'll take a look at the work I did last year, in Re:Vision, and when the new show comes online, have a chance to see the tangent points I have mapped in my work since 1999. 

The process was photographed as snapshots in my studio by me, with my little Fuji automatic. The professional shot of the finished painting is by Fernando Gaglianese.