To dumb down. The objects/paintings I make are an index of the force of art at work in the mind translated through the hand. Playing. To Make, to change, to more fully explain. To turn over all sides. To attempt to more fully describe psychological aspects of life that make it worthwhile. To fail in doing so. To stumble through. To create meaning. To describe the abstract nature of the world. To translate the range of possibility within what is perceived as stupidly obvious. To attempt to understand the implications of law. To try to understand the limitations of order and definition. To question those laws. To find value outside of currency and the structural systems that delegate it's exchange, function, production and accumulation in order to manipulate those systems through playing with action figures in a sand box. To create the world.
I am attempting to delve into the religion of painting to discover the limits of the devotional act of image making in regard to both the artist and viewer. The physical acts of returning, of repetition, of ones ability to envision and facilitate an ending, of marks building upon marks to become beheld, holds within it a practice of faith that is in its essence, is human. The compositions within my work come in a mental visual form that is rather complete. It is after receiving this mental imagery that I discern whether mimetic observation from life, photo reference, painting straight from the imagination or all of these, which is most often the case, is best to employ the images power. Within the process of executing these paintings, I am often just simply recording or observing this neurological imagery onto a surface. That being said, it is not entirely necessary that I hold true to the intentions of my initial subconscious imagery, as I feel that there is an important inner dialogue taking place between the conscious and subconscious mind throughout this process. Often for the sake of aesthetics or excavated concepts discovered within this inner dialogue,I will altar the composition to create what I feel is a more successful and meaningful painting. My hope is that the intended completion will carry within it an ability to potentially generate thought, if not emotional responses within others through the paintings essence. The idea is that by triggering such reactions within the viewer the painting has taken on a power to generate recordable energies/reactions within individuals that otherwise would not have happened had it not come into being. I feel that this grants the painting, an otherwise inanimate object, power to facilitate new life. I regard this ability of the object as a force within existence. It has been given a name through the ages as the force of poesis, the Greeks and Romans referred to it as Techna, enveloping technology along with it. It is the idea that art is a mark of a form of life other than how we define "alive". I have come to follow this principle almost as if it's a spiritual course. Being someone who writes creatively often, I compare the act of making these paintings to the act of creating the form of a contemporary poem. Not unlike the written work of Douglas Piccinnini, (one of my good friends and influences) appropriations,phrases, rhythms, and form, can all have tertiary meanings. Much like the manipulation of words, I adopt imagery and various uses of application concerning art historical movements to attempt to generate an emotive response from the viewer that emulates the impulsive,and overly critical condition in which I have created them. Perhaps this is confession. Perhaps it's justifiable escapism through romantic cultural ideals celebrated throughout academic and capitalistic institutions... I'm not sure, but what I can say is that the imagery comes from a mental index that I pull from in order to convey a specific sentiment for a memory,moment or thought(s). The idea or hope is that through color, form, and application, I can attempt to trigger and more fully communicate "my" perceptions of "my"existence and "my" reality by evoking similar emotional responses through imagery that one might also have in reading a poem, or hearing their favorite folksong if they choose to listen or pay attention to it. The idea is to tap into the associative and reactionary forms of communication (the musical, the rhythmic, cadency, volume, tone, and the physical) via the execution of outwardly pouring mental imagery through color, application, texture and form in attempt to share in the human experience of being infinitely alone in the technological era of existence. 1/23/2016
False Idols, illuminations of anxiety, and prayers of repentance…The act of painting carries forward many parallels with religious and spiritual devotions. Paintings themselves as objects, have become known within western culture as an index of an artist's life that carry with them a romantic symbology reflective of a practice filled with discipline and devotion. Hours of meditative isolation, self judgement, doubt, fear and philosophical ideaologies are psychologically wrestled within an individual in order to create an external image which is reflective of the internal self in the hope of achieving a sense of contentment and understanding of ones role within the span of existence: SALVATION. Despite our best efforts, much of what we make will be disregarded; our work will be the "hidden treasure" at flea markets, "the find" at pawn shops or just the "pieces of shit" in the trash. Maybe, if we are lucky, some of what we make will live in the fields of entropy. Perhaps they will sing their glory on the walls above couches in the homes of our great, great grandchildren.
Recently I have been caught off guard by my interests within religious statuaries due to their inherent nature of existence that share commonalities with the life of paintings; They are a sum of a person who once lived and are often placed outside(literally or metaphorically) to be weathered. Their stories are often forgotten but their symbology taunts clues to a way of life that once was. These paintings, like much of my work, have layered tracks of conceptual derivations : they discuss the history and progression of painting through form and content by mixing traditional practices of representation within a world of personally excavated modern systems of aesthetic. I use the vocabulary of paint: vibrant color, gold leaf, scratches, sanding, impasto, gauges, sprays, daubs patterns, thick, thin, and both glazes and spills to talk about the passing of time within the history of this practice. The simplifications of "space" into patterns and marks, recognize the influence of Modernism which surround traditionally rooted, almost neo-classical representational figures that are painted in almost a type of impressionism. In some instances, a slurred and almost melted manner of depiction discusses the break from observation into the realms of abstract form and thinking. The surfaces of the paintings are sometimes addressed with large swoops of direct tube colored paint that violently run across and cover, bury, or erase the underlying image all together, perhaps suggesting that much of contemporary painting has detached itself from verbal expletives, shrouded itself under veils of abstract ambiguity or within the landscape of passive pretty pictures, and has meandered into the fields of fashion, and interior decoration, and is empty of self aware purging, content, communication and meaning, while literally finding its value within it's own surface.
My idea is that contemporary painting is where food was in the 1980's and 90's : canned, wrapped in plastic, loaded with preservatives, artificial sweeteners, microwaved and hot on the table in disposable trays. It's easily cleaned up and there is a shit ton more of it on the shelves at your local supermarket. It comes pre packaged with glossy photographs on cardboard cartons that harken back to the days of yore when families made home cooked meals. What I am talking about here is the demands of culture dissecting and diluting the painter as composer, master craftsman and dedicated philosopher poet. This represents a parallel with religious devotions and practice: (in most cases) Saints and shamans no longer walk the earth and neither do Master painters. What is left of these individuals are the remnants of idealized folklore: statues that hold no direct resemblance to the individual deity and reproduced images of paintings on digital screens. Church is a social party rather than a way of life and both Religious bodies and The ArtWorld have one thing at the top of their list: Currency. What I am getting at here is that the ideas of "Passion" and "Devotion" in question of society and structure, have been replaced with "fashion" and "convenience" which are complacent to the demands of a fast track culture while retaining a mask of "Authenticity". The main difference here is the role of the artist: In one instance, the artist is the creator of " world and market" and in the other, a slave to the standards within what already exists.
The dire and pressing demeanor at which I describe the state of painting within the context of Art and the world, is the same maniacal, overly self conscious, romantic state in which I address creating a painting. This emotional/ personal stance is my third layer… Like the iconography of statues, in some way these things are biographical. They are an index of me. Is it an accurate depiction? Is this just noise to justify thousands of hours staring at a wall? Trust me when I say that I am just simply writing the love letters of dead soldiers who have no idea what and why they are, where they are (still). These are confessions. These are to one person. I am saying "always" through the development of my own language. I am saying, "Do you see these hours? I am writing you novels. Come back to me. You (at the time of me writing this) over the other ocean, come back to me." What is the role of the Painter in this world of overwhelming sensory stimulation? Of video games? Of 3d action flicks? FUCK!....of TRUE DETECTIVE! Is it just silly? Is it escape? Is it an excuse to not sit in an office? Does anyone care? Have I made my own mirage? Through painting Saints and Deities, perhaps I feel connected to the struggle of an individual maintaining hope and faith in the face of doubt and questions, somehow constantly preserving a will to forge ahead blindly, simply over conviction, stubbornness, and perhaps psychological dis-illusion. Hey, whatever it takes… 7/14/2014