Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Messiness Continues

Over the last few months I've continued to explore an abstract expressionist style, over-laid with geometric abstraction. This process involves layering different media, removing them, and then layering more, repeatedly until I'm happy with the results. Media include acrylic paint, shellac, oil pastels, spray paint, graphite, epoxy, gesso, and milk paint (I think that is a complete list but I can't guarantee it). Except for this first piece, I've titled them with their date of completion because I didn't feel comfortable with any other title; I could have left them all untitled, but that would have been too confusing, and I felt that any descriptive name would have felt forced or been too revealing. Instead, I want the viewer to find their own way with the work. Another reason for date titles is that I feel the chronology of the work is important, and revealing, in how the work evolves over time.

This first piece, One Whitish Orb, is a recycled shellac painting from 2010. I struggled with it for several months but finally felt it come together when I added the polka dots.
One Whitish Orb
mixed media on board
35.5" x 29.25"
I especially like how the acrylic polka dots overlay the shellac polka dots (which I didn't realize were polka dots until the acrylic ones were added).
One Whitish Orb (close up)
I've also completed two more two-sided paintings. With these, however, I decided to paint, and have wood exposed, on both sides. I also split them into two pieces and off-set the sections. 
May 2014a (side one)
mixed media on wood
13" x 53" x 3"
65" high from floor
There are saw marks and scraps that gouge the wood in these pieces, adding a layer of linearality to the messiness. I think it is also interesting how the abstract expressionist mess is framed by geometric abstraction.

May 2014 (side one close up)
This is the other side.
May 2014a (side two)
mixed media on wood
13" x 53" x 3"
I think the saw marks, filled with epoxy and may other things, cutting into the clean wood section adds a aspect of minimalism to the piece in addition to tying the two sections together.
May 2014a (side two close up)
The base is made with black cherry and 1/2" stainless steel rods.
2014a (base)
wood and stainless steel
This other two-sided piece is made in the same way except I used 1.5" thick lumber instead of 2" as with the one above.
May 2014b (side one)
mixed media on wood
8.5" x 30" x 2"
61" high from floor
May 2014b (side one close up)
May 2014b (side two)
I like how the imperfect saw kerf epoxy filling gave me a chance to add different colors and create a miniature abstract painting within.
May 2014b (side two close up)
The base design is the same as above, though a little smaller.
May 2014b (base)
In living with my first two-sided paintings for a while, I began to feel that they had a "presence" -- I felt a personal relationship with them as if they were another being in the room with me, and I thought the feeling could be accentuated if I used the same technique vertically. As I started working on these last three pieces, I thought of them as independent spirits with complex personal histories recorded over millennium, with each mark and layer representing events that are obscured, but never forgotten, by the next series of events. I like how all of these layers can be seen as messy and "ugly" on one level, but when viewed as a whole, and appreciated for what they are, it can also be seen as very beautiful and wonderful.
June 2014a
mixed media on wood
41" x 10.5" x 2"
With these last three I also cut circles into the wood, filling them with epoxy and other things, to add another layer of geometry to the work.
June 2014a (close up)
June 2014b
mixed media on wood
53.25" x 9.5" x 2"
June 2014b (close up)
June 2014c
mixed media on wood
47" x 9" x 2"
June 2014c (close up)
I'm really happy with the emotional content of these pieces, I can really feel them, but I'm curious, and looking forward to, seeing if and how others are affected by them. Thankfully, I won't have to wait too long because they will be on display in mid-September -- look for an announcement soon.

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