In addition to my paintings that start with a collage, in the "Decomposition" series I work in a more process-oriented way, letting the materials and surface dictate the way I'll represent a particular subject.
As these pieces are heavily textural, the best way to experience them is to walk around them, so, I've made a little video so that you, the viewer can get a better idea of how the image changes as seen from different vantage points.
I am very pleased to have my painting "Fear of Falling" chosen for the upcoming group show at the Alliance Francaise in Pasadena.
The theme of the show is "Dépayser" which translated means; "to be disoriented through unfamiliar surroundings". It can also imply the contrary, "being refreshed by a change of scenery". Either way, the sense of the word is that by being away from the familiar, we are changed by a new environment.
My painting, "Fear of Falling" 48" x 48" is vertigo in painted form. as an analogy to a state of mind, it's losing your bearings of things you were sure of, cornerstones you took for granted.
The exhibit runs from March 18th to April 18th, at the gallery at the Alliance Francaise, 232 North Lake Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101.
Opening reception March 18th 4pm to 7pm.
This is a short video about my work and painting process in the studio.
The painting "False Self" began as much of my work does, a serious game of trying to catch something out of the corner of my mind's eye. Chasing the edges of what that thing might look like through concentration turns into mental staring, an activity that does little but makes it run away from me.
My method around this is to create simple versions of what I'm after as quickly as possible using collage. As I'm shuffling shapes and colors around each other, it's a knee jerk reaction to whether it works or not.
A few hours later and many, many attempts later, I might have a handful that intrigues me. Typically I will develop three or four into paintings at a time.
The 2" x 2" collage for "False Self" looked like this:
I knew when I first saw it; it was part of "The Hapless Creatures" series which deal with figures that are more like symbolic monuments on a landscape. Somehow the space around them becomes an extension of their own helpless, often faceless selves.
The forms to the left of the composition felt like it was the primary character in the story. The black shapes and arcs to the right were the vibrations, shadows, something being emitted by the figure that was to be, I wasn't sure how.
I blocked in the colors and silhouettes.
Slowly, I began to discern who or what was going to dominate the landscape. The dripping, shiny forms pouring over the green were crucial to the piece, I loved the creepy, glossy quality of it.
Although I loved the shapes to the right of the figure and the pointy forms jutting towards it, the black felt wrong. It was detracting from the figure. Because gravity and traditional perspective aren't relevant in many of my paintings, the forms on the upper right now were casting shadows on an upright floor.
As delicious as the red cubes in the corner were, they were starting to be at odds with everything. They had to go.
With that red cube removed, I began to see the edge of the green effigy start to take shape. It also appeared as though even the figure couldn't see; it was staring at something, this is when I added the oval mirror.
It's somewhere in this process that the name of a piece pops in my head.
Sometimes things just fall into place. A wonderful Spanish style home in Los Angeles owned by a family coming to the end of a tough renovation were ready to put the finishing touches on their home.
They made a visit to my studio in search of a painting to be the focal point of their living room. Initially, they choose the painting "Interior" for that spot.
Once we got "Interior" into their home we realized that it was meant to live at the head of the dining table. Everything about it melded with the feel, colors, and texture of the space. Even the weave of the placemats casually placed on the table seemed to have a rapport with the brushwork.
They wanted to see "Wild Thing" for their living room which worked perfectly. An eclectic mix of contemporary and classic furnishings, the wild texture of the art piece complemented the metallic surface of the industrial coffee table. The hot orange spoke to the tones of the wood floor.
It's the best of the two worlds. My personal search for the combination shapes, shadows, and lines that give outward expression thoughts to the in my head finds its place in an environment that seems like it was waiting for it.
My painting "Fear of Falling" will be appearing in the group show "The Next Big Thing" at the Channel Island Studio Gallery May 18th through June 24th 2017.
Opening reception May 20th
There are two opposing directions I come from when finding my way into a painting.
The first starting point is the space or structure associated with a memory. Architecture either threatens or welcomes you. Once you're near or inside there's a pact that says you're in collusion. You've become part of it and it of you. The difference between being embraced or trapped by a structure.
The second are the fading details, the organic surfaces or edges that seem to deteriorate in real life or my mind’s eye. An earthen path, a crumbling wall, an overgrown garden that is linked with an event. The blur comes from the physical effect of rushing through a space or the effect emotion can have on the mind when recording events.
My series titled "Decomposition" is the capture of those elusive, rotting, fading memories and places. Organic textures that are constantly changing, maybe too slowly for us to see it happing. The dots that form a pixilated mental image loses part of the patchwork as other events overlap it.
The materials I use to create these pieces want to disintegrate by their very nature. Sand, coffee, diluted cement, they want to run, separate. I manipulate them and finally suspend them in a moment.
Very pleased to have my painting "Hapless Thing" included in the group show "The Art of Ekphrasis" at Blue Line Arts. The exhibit runs from January 13th to February 25th.
I don't have a plan per se when I start a painting. Sure, I do studies and collages but I'm looking for a place that looks like a feeling I have in gut. I don't really know what that looks like in the beginning.
When the piece starts to feel "right" I get a sense of closing in on it. Using different methods for getting there I don't have complete confidence I've arrived until the painting I'm looking at gives me a certain jolt.
Doing a series is more of that same process. I'll finish a painting that doesn't look like the past 10 or fifteen and think, "where the hell did you come from?" and go on to paint something else.
Usually, after a while, another will follow that looks like it's related to the last, it's there, certain similarities start to make themselves apparent.
"Family Portrait" was one of those paintings about a group of people that made me look back at "Meeting" quite differently.
The amorphous, dreamlike landscape and the tension between the figures made me understand it was a new suite of paintings. These described the emotional space around a sole being or between a group. Some of the quasi-human like forms might be relatives, lovers or opponents.
I suppose there's a bit of alienation that all the figures seem to carry. Maybe a bit more with "Hapless Thing". Stumbling around blind on three legs, I feel sorry for it.
The space between, within a larger place. Details from the smells, colors, and textures. Parts are lost.
A fleeting shadow heavier than the object or person that casts it. A pause in the moment. Hesitation from Point A to B.
Not wanting to go somewhere puts one's mind in a strange place before getting there. What is seen and felt once there, comes through a filter of resistance. Even more peculiar are the impressions that manage to filter through.
This painting is the memory of shapes and colors that made it through.
Tall monsters quietly conferring with each other. Their skeletons are made of fire escapes, pipes, wires. I don't hear what they're saying just the wind whistling in between them.
Standing amongst tall apartment buildings that have a bullish, utilitarian presence. Once inside I feel like there should be some connection but it feels raw and hollow.
Strangely, by merit of their clumsiness, I still get a sense of character. Like awkward monsters that try to comfort each other, I paint them from the inside out. Their stairwells and heavy fire doors that go "swish, clunk" sound like a labored breath.
Scraping around their insides trying to find the shapes of their souls; I bump into what holds them together and what they're made of but haven't a clue who they are.
Searching for images through magazines. Looking for the pictures of the things I see out of the corner of my mind's eye.
I see it, cars painted in glossy iridescent paint. Soft upholstery that purrs comfort. Glowing highlights of soft hair. Gentle curve of a long neck. Fragile, delicate pink.
Ironically, when I start to paint from the collage, my response is hyper, nervous. Brushes don't deliver the look I'm after. Grabbing the oil pastels, they give a scratchy, raw representation I find satisfying.
Being in or around an architectural environment, certain things leave an impression on me. It can be the grand scale of a building or the small moments in surface detail of the concrete.
In a painting, I recreate that mood with the texture, light and shapes associated with memory.
During the process of searching for that combination of colors forms and edges that deliver a representation of that sensation, I use many tools. Sketches and collage help clarify the overall direction when I start. Once I jump in, I'm improvising, trying different things that give me and knee jerk reaction as to whether they work.