Having just returned from Florence this last experience was completely different from all of the other times I have sojourned to Italy.
In the past a good deal of the experience dealt with being in and observing the physical environment. The glorious landscapes, the intriguing physical structures, the general ambiance of the “other.”
On this journey I was struck by location, location in regard to ideas rather than a physical setting(s). Ideas expressed within the context of space, physical and conceptual. The real space of the composition frame and the idea of space as text through the lens of time and the interaction with other people in that physical space. This piece is the first in a new series dealing with those ideas.
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 referencial 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 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 composition that becomes 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.
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