Friday, April 21, 2006

Fleshy waves?

These are details of the 7 piece, composite painting hanging in the show.....

every show that I've had this past year, someone has seen figures, faces, or other human/organic forms in the more abstract work. this time a student at FDU saw a face in one of the etchings. I saw the flesh tones in these red/orange paintings when I was taking photos.

there must be something to this

I closely relate a body of water to the human body, because feels alive. Moving water pulses, undulates, and has a rhythm that I have seen in many people. Imagine a board surfer duck diving under a crashing wave. Picture young people playing in a small river with rapids, under the hot summer sun; swimming in and out of the currents.

I was tempted to use wax, encaustic, for this project, but I prefer the clearer (and more durable) medium of acrylic. I suppose now I know why wax sculptures are so life-like. The wax mimicks semi-transparency of skin.

What is really curious, fascinating about this subject, is that the more I work on a piece, the more I keep leaning towards a more fleshy combination of colors. It's easy to realize that our bodies are mostly water. Our flesh is mostly water. But that's the simple answer. There is something more of a deep connection to the water; some kind of calling.

Installation views

A few quick photos of the show installed at Fairleigh Dickinson University's art gallery. The opening was great. I think that the students really enjoyed it. I'm glad that I was able to answer all of the questions that they asked.

how it's made....

layer after layer of acrylic, piled on top of more layers, slowly built up, allowed to dry, color added, just a touch in each layer, lots of staring and watching the medium dry and crack and distort,until I am able to partly control the process, or at least make an educated prediction about how the acrylic will flow...

really thick layers can take up to two weeks to fully dry and become totally transparent.

I've contemplated using polyester or epoxy resin as a medium,but I am concerned that I'll lose the flexible, fleshy, tactile sense that the acrylic has.

It's getting warmer outside so it might be time to move the entire operation into the open and see what influence the spring sun has on this work.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

100 Waves

a project that started because I had an injured shoulder. I worked hard all last year and therefore did not do much surfing with my kayak. The plan was to spend lots of time surfing this year. But, I got injured and needed surgery and time off. I anticipated 100 days without a surf, thus decided to draw at least 100 waves. From my last surf on the Sheepscot River in Maine (reversing falls) to my first surf post-surgery at George's Hole on the Housatonic River in Connecticut, there was 138 days out of the water.
Each image is just a bit bigger than 4" x 6"

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

contrasts and relationships

many transparent layers to create illusions of a solid form, from far away
surface texture
glossy is difficult,can't see though it, can't see beyond the surface
but, when you're closer, the glare goes away and you see through the surface, to the layers below.
An overlap gives us a little hint when it does not completely cover what is behind it. But it will reveal far less than a transparency.

matte is easier to see,
but often only the first layer, so you just see the overlaps, not the actual depth
matte clouds up quickly and hinders the view of what lies beneath

reflected light off surface
at different angle there is no glare and depth is seen

real/invented colors
water is blue? green? ochre?
red and orange are high arousal state colors
synesthesia---- excited happiness is orange, passion is red. both are highly aroused states
water doesn't have a color
the color is reflections from the environment
the color is from things suspended in the water

so water, as we know it, is like paint
a transparent medium with elements suspended inside, that make the color
Acrylic medium is transparent, and uses suspended materials to create a color
Linseed oil is also a transparent medium.

one might think of WATERcolor as the natural choice, but the medium can't build up the thickness,
so I needed something that would be a solid, to mimick a "frozen" moment as well as movement.

Friday, April 07, 2006

7 individuals that fit as 1

These are all 48" tall, done with acrylic on canvas. It's tough to tell from these photos, but most of the paint is transparent, built up in several layers over the course of the past two months. The overall theme is still water, but this time the focus is on depth and surface texture (as well as shine). The difficult part of photographing these paintings (besides the 3 dimentional aspect of them) is the glare from all of the gloss gel. But, that is a major part of the painting. The reflections of light on water's surface, and the closer you get, the less of an issue glare becomes, until you can see below the surface to some of the component parts that make up the color depth within a body of water.......................................................................

All seven of these were painted at the same time, using a wave shape as the form, and water as a theme. They are contemplated both seperately and as one seven-part painting.

Photos of some details willl follow, provided that I can at least partially capture the 3 dimentional aspect in that 2 dimentional medium.

Regarding the 3 dimentionality..... it seems that for a long time throughout the history of painting, the focus had been on the illusion of 3 dimentional space on a very flat surface. The ACTUAL 3 dimentional work was left to sculptors and architects. The attitude was that a painting was a "window" THROUGH which we looked at a scene. Modernism addressed both the obvious flatness of a painting on canvas, as well as explored all of the areas between sculpture and painting. Here, now, I am interested in bringing the two together. Discussing BOTH space that can be looked "into" as through a window, and space that pushes "out" into our plane. Transparency is the obvioius solution to this, especially when working within the contraints of painting on a flat surface (such as I am)

And, to directly address those who would question my self imposed contraints: I WANT to work on surface and not really in the sculptural realm. I don't have any prolems with sculpture, or any perceived places between sculpture and painting. It's just not what I am moved to explore at this time. If I changed the constraints, then the entire project would change. Besides, I just really love the feeling of paint. Yes, the visceral experience of high viscosity, squishy, sticky, smooth, flowing paint. It's like having the ability to play with water as it is in that transition from solid to liquid. It is a melting point. Wax as it starts to soften and drip. Chocolate as it melts slowly on your tongue.

Another thing. I"m not a strong believer in "post" modernism. I really don't think that it exists. it is a useful tool to discuss either the immediate future or the exact present. But Modernism is still going on,and the "post" is a concept.

Anyway..... enjoy the paintings. I've had fun with this investigation. I'm also still working on them. They will surely still be a little bit wet when I hang them for the show in two weeks.

Also. If anyone knows any photography tricks.... I'd be happy to hear them. These painting have to be experienced up close to really apreciate them, and photographs are not capturing all of the subtlties involved in each piece.