Statement

My work is a little like searching in a dark room with a flashlight that only brightens the few inches in front of it. I feel my way along the walls, trying to identify the furniture and layout of the place I find myself in.

Sometimes the dark is where you find the best surprises.

About a decade ago I moved from figurative to abstract work on small canvases, limiting myself to black oil paint. Forcing this constraint on myself was unpredictably liberating. Over the years I’ve expanded and contracted on my constricting parameters. I spent several years building shaped canvases which were a jumping-off point for the paint that followed.

Nearly a year and a half ago decided to go back to a single shape, the square. I wasn’t sure how far I could take it before I hit a wall and needed to reconsider the next step.

To my surprise, once again, I found this even tighter constraint offered more of the unexpected. Every time I felt myself inching up to that wall, I found a way past it. Like martial arts, there was a type of repetition involved. I knew that if I ever got to the point where it was only repetition, I would be done with it. What surprised me was the incremental improvement in my technique and subject. I gathered more control and became more demanding of the work. More and more works would get scrapped because they just weren’t as good as I had come to expect.

My work as an artist is about searching and it’s a little like searching in a dark room with a flashlight that will only brighten a few inches in front of it. We artists, we feel our way along the walls and try to identify the furniture and layout of the place that we find ourselves in. We use the tools we have, each of us arrive with slightly different tools. Each of us learn to build different tools to help us plod on in the dark.

Sometimes the dark is where you find the best surprises. Most of a decade ago I moved from figurative work to working on small canvases, limiting myself to black oil paint. Forcing this parameter on myself was unpredictably liberating. Over the years I’ve expanded and contracted on my limiting parameters. I spent several years building shaped canvases which were a jumping off point for the paint that followed.

Nearly a year and a half ago decided to go back to a single shape, the square. I wasn’t sure how far I could take it before I hit a wall and needed to reconsider the next step.

To my surprise, once again, I found this even tighter parameter offered more of the unexpected. Every time I felt myself inching up to that wall, I found a way past it. Like martial arts there was a type of repetition involved. I knew that if I ever got to the point where I could only repeat myself, I would be done with it. The surprise I am talking about is the increments of improvement in the technique and subject. I gathered more control and became more demanding of the work. More and more of them would get scrapped because they just weren’t as good as I came to expect. I keep expecting to hit the wall but somehow I keep getting past it.

2016

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