Don Eugene Seastrum Works, Artist’s Statement

 

I had the great honor of having my painting on the cover of the catalog for the first edition of the Art Festival Cerreto Laziale presented at the Museo D’Arte Moderna E Contemporanea in 2012.

New Directions:

During my last journey to Florence, Italy  I became very interested in the concept of the narrative in works of art and have been developing a series of paintings investigating the nature of the narrative, in particular, the aspect of the poetic narrative as applied to painted forms and compositions.

It may be the time of year; it might be the time of life. Whatever the catalyst I am beginning a new series of paintings based on the narratives of people absent from our lives. I am focusing on those people I have known for the past 50 years or more, but with whom I have lost contact. These will not be literal documentations but rather narratives of lives that intersected, if even for the briefest of moments and then are separated by time or circumstance.

Serendipity seems a fantastic thing or perhaps it is just that occurrences allow us to set aside the repetition of the day and touch, once again, the real values in our lives. At the very moment I had decided to pursue this new direction, my cousin Ray Helmers sends me photographs of someone I knew in the late 1960’s, photographs of an absent friend that struck an unexpected poignant cord in my consciousness; a poignancy that resonates with me still.

I guess these new pieces will also be about allowing yourself to be open to the possibilities that are always around us. To abandon fear, cynicism and embrace the wonderful notion of reconnecting, in a fashion, with those now absent from our lives.

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My work is fundamentally that of a studio artist. By that, I mean, which might seem quite obvious, one who composes in the studio and not on site. I do use images of human figures, as well as what might more traditionally be called landscapes, however, the human images and landscape components are not intended to be descriptive of specific individuals or places. Rather they are expressions of ideas in pictorial form, substantive and particularized. I begin with an idea, a concept and then select images (shapes) uniting them with the other elements of composition (colors, values, spaces, line, form, texture) and manipulate those to carry the idea (content) of the piece.

As I have traveled I have developed a library of images, both human figures, and landscapes that I can later reference in my studio. Most of those images are done using watercolors.  When I am in the physical environment in which I am doing studies I am always selectively determining what will be in the study and that which will not be part of the referential imagery. I am considering the possibilities of the image(s) capacity to carry content, not as descriptive realism, but as references at a later date. I remain the distanced observer rather than an immersed participant.

As a studio based painter for the past five decades, my work has been a continuing investigation into the essence and nature of constructed images as individual entities that are neither reliant nor dependent upon a one to one reproduction of the subject matter referred to in the work of art, Presentational rather than Representational.

During this period of inquiry I have come to understand that these presentations are not descriptions of the thing that has happened, a copy, but rather a depiction of a kind of thing that might happen, an interpretation, never intending that the interpretation should be seen as something other than a drawing, a print or a painting.

Presented in this context, the work I do is both informed and inspired by my studies into the development of a particularized visual vocabulary.  Although precisely articulated my works are rendered with no intent at a naturalistic description.  Since copying is not the desired end, it is the process of choosing specific images, colors, values, and patterns of organization for the individual compositions that become my principle creative concern.  To identify this principle of choice within my work, flattened plains and subjective color are used with objective values to underscore the distinction between the models, and the interpreted images referring to those models, stressing the fact that they are painted forms, pigment on canvas, drawn, graphite on paper, or lithographic crayons on stones hand pulled in limited additions.  Adding to the distinction between the referenced subject as models and the interpreted images within the work, I employ an original design technique fusing the distortion of forced Renaissance perspective into regions of broken picture planes. The interpreted images are placed on these enigmatic planes, resulting in a somewhat unsettling, sublime, yet compelling depiction of potential realities.

The results of this procedure are compositions expressed in terms of the essential nature of descriptive works of fine art, classically modern and presentational, unifying form to content.

Email: seastrumstudio@gmaill.com  Studio Phone: 970-641-8588

 

I am pleased to announce that I was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor of Art by Western State Colorado University on May 6, 2017.

 

 

 


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