Over the last 6 months I’ve been moving back into some more serious abstract paintings. Since beginning my education, these periods of return to non-representational, non-observational work have been important to me. Usually, this work is a release from more intensive perceptual-process paintings. Often it doesn’t resolve into a clear body of work, yet once every 3 or 4 years it does.
Much of the new abstraction is directly related to three distinct events that have been taking place in my studio. First, I’ve been collaborating with Joel T Dugan on a series of works that, while mostly resolving into representation and pictorial symbolism, often begin with evocative surface and color explorations. Secondly, I’ve found myself contemplating the kinds of decisions my daughters make when they work in my studio alongside me. They have none of the philosophy or theory behind making art, and so they offer a kind of pure aesthetic and material reactivity that I find refreshing and exciting. Lastly, I have been obsessed with a print made for a Penguin edition of the book The Cloud of Unknowing. The print was apparently made by artist Diana Bloomfield around 1961. Ms Bloomfield, who died in 2010, was a very successful printmaker who worked on many imprints of the Penguin publishing house.Above, left to right: the 1961 edition, and a late 70’s edition, both featuring Bloomfield’s medieval-inspired cloud.
Such an enduring image.
I’ve got a lot of thoughts about this image and the ideas in The Cloud of Unknowing, but those are for another time. Right now, here are a number of the recent abstractions.
Night Sky Sliver. Oil, acrylic and adhesive tape on canvas, 12 by 12 inches, 2015.
Pink Wedge. Oil, acrylic, digital print and adhesive tape on canvas, 12 by 12 inches, 2015.
Locking Diagonal. Oil, acrylic, collage and adhesive tape on canvas, 12 by 12 inches, 2015.
Crossover. Oil, acrylic and adhesive tape on canvas, 12 by 12 inches, 2015.
The Unfold. Oil on panel, 24 by 24 inches, 2015.
Bent Icon. Oil on panel, 24 by 24 inches, 2016.
I’ve certainly been influenced in these by my ongoing love of the work of Marcelo Bonevardi and Richard Diebenkorn, but I think that watching Christian Ramirez’s recent work (mostly via Instagram) has been instrumental as well. Most important has been working up close on Dugan’s effervescent surfaces and trying to wrestle with them.
I’ve got a few more of these in the works – I’ll share them as they manifest.