"Objects Are Closer Than They Appear"
April 10 - 22, 2008
opening night reception
Thursday, April 10, 6pm - 10pm
The twenty works that comprise this show come from a period of time that spans over 20 years. The large black and white abstractions ( Untitled 1, 2 and 3 ) reflect an interest in activating the painting surface in a gestural manner and allow the action of “attacking” the canvas with a loaded stick to move the painting forward. As I worked on these paintings a kind of overall effect or script became apparent. The figure / ground relationship continues to change as the painting is observed. Black areas move from negative to positive space and spatial relationships are redefined. Human form, both whole and fragmented is present in the work, although it was never my intent to produce figurative canvases. The act of painting each day in this way with stick in hand ( on both paper and canvas) and only black and white paint allowed me to focus on painting in its purest state. I was living in Montreal when these paintings were made and had a strong interest in the work of the “Automatistes”. These paintings are a bridge to the more recent work that is exhibited. The application of paint in a direct and automatic manner, without a plan or preconceived message may be likened to ‘painting blind’ but ultimately the process yielded a very pure, highly personal and expressive result. When these painting were resurrected and viewed they became a bridge and inspired the current shadow drawings in both process and content.
The shadow drawings ( # 11 through 15 ) were begun in 2008. This series was in no way preconceived. My intent was to play with materials and to see what emerged. Over the last few years I have become interested in shadow images and written descriptions of the process of appearance / disappearance of both human and manufactured environments. Ground graphite was dropped onto paper in a random fashion and then pushed and pulled across the surface finding form through movement. Once again the figure/ ground relationship seems to dominate and where graphite was dropped a dynamic hole remains.
The painting “Objects are Closer than they Appear” is composed of five panels and was completed over a 6- year period. The central panel was begun on the afternoon of 9 / 11. I had walked home through deserted streets in early afternoon having viewed televised images of the events earlier in the day. The panel was in direct response to that event. The other four panels were begun a few years later and contain found objects that were collected on daily walks past a construction site. The mirror is a ‘loaded’ image and the myriad of references and meanings that are attached to it make it central in reading the work. The shattered / fractured reflection works in counterpoint to other seemingly whole images that appear or disappear into the panels. The atmospheric backgrounds are an intentional reference to appearance and disappearance.
I have recently begun to integrate spray- painted line into my work. It is employed for the atmospheric quality that a fat nozzle will produce and for, what I call, the immediacy of intent.
“Red / Black 1” is the first in a series of large wood panels that have developed from the shadow drawings. I have chosen to paint directly onto wood to exploit the textural qualities ( knots provide random ‘holes’). The large scale of the panels ( 4 by 8 feet ) provides a large surface to explore the physicality of the act of painting and the increasingly dynamic/ dramatic exploration of the shadow themes.