ARTIST’S STATEMENT, New Work
This series of circled paneled works have continued to evolve beyond the earlier processes of obsessive layering. Then, I would routinely and ‘fish-scale’ hundreds of pieces of paper, creating an improvised and ritualized geometrical surface that continuously shifted “literal balance” from the center via improvised structure and coating that surface with manipulated colored skins of pearlescent washes. The skins then and now respond and change to intensity and direction of light.
In the earlier works, I found the intensely arduous, trance-like processes of repetition and variation a spiritual ritual akin to those practiced by early Af/Am artisans – rice fanning basket weavers, crazy-quilters and makers of derivative Yoruba textiles. More recently, layering rectangular skins have yielded to a desire to return to the compelling alchemy of color-mixing. In these featured works I am tapping into a different frequency of the spectrum. The process could now be called serious ritualized play. I’m creating resists, bleeds, spotting and liquefying of countless layers of the optical surfaces.
These color complex paintings are even more aggressively improvised than the earlier ones but the improvisation is contained within concentric circular rings, interrupted, enhanced and possessing value and color counter-rhythms. While they can easily be seen to reference more familiar circular cultural iconography, mandalas, sand paintings etc., they do not originate there in spirit, practice or reference. I am singularly interested in one thing; painting. I only care about how color behaves with color independent of its job describing ‘a recognizable world of people, places or things.’. The process is the end aesthetic and the relationship with the viewer born in causal improvisation is a directed engagement. Although deceivingly formal at first glance my paintings are manipulated throughout to trigger more primal and involuntary emotional responses.
The concentric rings contain but do not control painterly activity. Rings of specific kinds of actual and optical harmony, communicate –as light absorbed and reflected – with themselves first before they communicate with the viewer. Witness in these works internal dialogue masquerading as familiar constructs. Flatness, form and dimension are illusions but the visual noise, quiet, aggressive or kinetic is intensely personal. These paintings are the sound(s) beneath the surface, self-portraits as metaphor.
Why the circle?
The circle is the most primary and recognizable shape in our memory. It is our mother’s eyes. It it’s the nipple that nourished us. It is the sun, the moon, the symbol for the harmony of life and its journey. I bring all possibilities with me as I try to unlearn what I know in favor of what I desire to discover. By choosing the form most embedded in our psyche, experiences and central to all design, I can unleash any and all elements of my soul. The process of discovery becomes the colored blood of my ideas and that ‘blood’ continues to be poured, spilled, scraped and given rhythmic structure within the geometric or organic context of the forever familiar circle.