Panel/Control Panel, Acrylic on wood, 28X24, 2014
While visiting Museo Prado in Madrid I was thunderstruck by the 1760’s work of court portraitist Anton Meng. This experience has informed a new series (including Tondo 2019) —an emulation of his process. After a rough sketch I build miniature waves out of clay, clouds out of cotton, foam and bubbles from soap. Light them and then do additional sketches and photography. A straightforward process compared to previous approaches that relied on unpredictable intuition.
Cognitive Fictions and Intersubjectivity:
The objects I’m creating --paintings, photographs, film, composites and sculptures-- are a comment on how we think, through the mechanics of how we perceive. Our cognitive processing (collective or personal) contains clues to both our objective and emotional selves. Whether gazing into an abyss or contemplating metaphors, visual explanations and examples of how we measure --how we perceive intersects with what we believe. An ontological premise (the what) relies on the specifics of a epistemological approach (the way). We've come to live in an age where data is cognition. My hope is that the work might reveal how the fog of deception and the bright light of certainty connect.
Metaphors of illustrations and/or Representations
Illustrations are always in the service of an idea while a work of fine art is an object of contemplation that stands on its own. My use of illustrative troupes –faux-scientific, research-like objects– attempt to expose broader issues of how we understand, organize and interpret the world around us.
Example: Artificial Rainbow
Water paintings: a presumed here and now.
I hope to raise questions about anomalous reality -a term I borrow from film theory that defines how factually accurate realities are described through open-ended fictions. Think of how fictional character (introduced into historical stories) offer plot twists that (unlike well-known histories) are unpredictable.
Gazing meditatively at a body of water can be a transformative experience. The speed at which water appears on the back of the retina is melded into an amalgam of consciousness as we struggle to interpret time and space through the dapple of light, water, wind and gravity. Photography has created an easy and dominant track for how we perceive movement while the plasticity of paint (affixed to a surface) has the potential to engage layers of perception into its own unique visual interpretive process. A painting can be a mirror reflecting how we think we see. What happens in the time it takes for one metaphorical fold of water to overlap onto another is contingent on what we mean by fold —a wave— whose movement we often ascribe agency. The waves are dancing. A painting can have lyrics without words.
Description of my painting process.
The water paintings are the result of subconscious manufacturing. As I apply paint to the surface I don't look carefully or consider the details of pictorial structure or composition but instead rely on my memories and experience of the seemingly limitless abyss of mid-ocean. For better or worse I try not to think when I paint and rely on a kind of darkroom photographic process. I simply think of how a watery space might look. I then mush, splatter, stroke and wipe --mimicking the dodge and burn, actions of a traditional photographic darkroom. The decision of its value as a composition, as a bit of pleasing aesthetic or how it conforms to an agreed upon appearance of how water should look takes a backseat to how it feels. Does it evoke an emotion? Do the inherent metaphors associated with marine subjects come easily? But most of all does it mimic the free-form association we make when meditatively staring off into the middle distance? I'm hoping the paintings offer a kind of deliberately contrived Rorschach test --that is-- a meaningfully pleasing conduit to the viewers own inner self.
Examples: Small Paintings (2014)
Please see: Musings and Rationale
Photography has come to dominate how we define time.
The conventional practice of photography —where a shutter opens and light and shadow are fixed— memorializes the past. Beyond representation, a photograph is a record of a time and place that occurred in a mediated instant defined by the camera-apparatus. An agreed upon discreet moment. This privileged positioning prioritizes how we understand the past.
As we pose for a camera we anticipate a future of a past yet to be.
Example: Water Photography (2015)
Example: Taylor Museum (2011)
Photography is a kind of primitive theater, a kind of Tableau Vivant, a figuration of the motionless and made-up face beneath which we see the dead" (Barthes, Camera Lucida 31-32).