I have five new abstracts in the Member Show Part 1 at the State of the Art Gallery Ithaca. The
show runs from January 3-28, 2018, with a gallery night reception on Friday, January 12.
The five paintings were chosen from a series of abstracts on which I have been working during the fall of this year. They represent a detour from the landscape paintings that I’ve been doing for an upcoming show in April among others, and represent a complete departure of materials, tools and technique. Previously I’d been doing the landscapes for quite a while, Spring and early summer found me outside with my easel in various gorges and fields, as well as in
studio with photos of cloud-scapes. Doing representational landscape implies a commitment to reality, yet the physicality of my materials is
an important aspect of my art. My preferred palette knife technique results in a highly-textured surface, where seemingly random shapes coalesce into realism at a distance. Being “loose” and real at the same time is a balancing act, depending on a relaxed state of unselfconsciousness. Knowing how something is “supposed to look” and being faithful to its nature after a while began to result in an anxious self-consciousness that was constraining my spontaneous free flow of paint. At times like those, I turn to abstraction as a way to play with color without expectation of outcome. I start with a color premise, and explore it. The painting becomes a puzzle to solve. There is an infinite number of choices, decisions to make, and no set answers. It is play that only becomes serious when the painting is nearing
resolution. For this series, I gravitated to brush instead of palette knife, and switched from oils to acrylics. My color premise was to create compositions using color families to create subtlety rather than complementary colors to create high impact drama. The first few were painted with various yellows and orange, and the next were studies with combinations of blue, using yellow and magenta to gently modify them. I indulged in using colors not found in the landscape. The openness of abstraction and the reality of landscape work nicely together as foils for each other. I began working back and forth during this project, with oils at one end of the studio and acrylics at the other end.