Mar 14, 2012

The Space Between

It hit me like a hammer today (again) that painting/drawing really comes down to describing relationships (duh). I guess I always know that even though it may not be in the front of my mind.

I looked around my studio today and realized that what I'm chasing right now is not a play off of a landscape-type space in order to describe an unspeakable feeling, not just a "new world", but some very discrete forms and their relationship to one another. Usually, lately, I build a whole space, rising up together...but I'm getting back to bluntness and silliness holding hands and staring at you from the canvas. It's a relief that I realized this more consciously today because now I can go after this idea with more focus.

This idea, that painting is about relationships can get really complex really fast when you consider that painting/drawing can be 'about' not only the relationships between people (with or without actually depicting them) but also relationships between existing physical forms. This is where my mind usually gets blown. Can I really examine, explore, describe the unspoken between people through abstraction? I think yes, it's possible. Can I really do all this and also utilize the conventions of pictorial space? Is it necessary? Should I completely drop all conventions and be more 'purely' abstract? I think the reason I turn away from that idea is that the relationships that I want to explore are between myself, another person(s), the entirety of physical space and the viewer.

The problem also arises when I realize that I'm approaching this from distinctly different ways. 'Radical Light' for example (a painting that is already is on the blog) is about the relationship between myself and the well...planet Earth. More specifically, it tries to make real the character of ecstasy (insufficient word) and awe (insufficient word) that I experienced. But these recent paintings seem to actually kind figurative (with the exception of one). The forms aren't scapes, they are more like characters, like the work right after grad school. Anytime there is a change in the studio it has me scrambling for answers. But also, these might just be different 'modes' or categories that just exist in my practice and maybe I should just embrace them both! The Radical Light paintings and the Negotiating Distance paintings.

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