NEW ALPHABET (2019)
People think that design is merely about how things look but really, it’s about how things function. We may understand this importance in the context of machines and technology, but the same qualities should be required of all things, especially art. Paintings are made to engage, incite and connect, but they also have the chance to quietly work within the perfection of their own archaic technology. Having recently set up a secondary studio in a 1960 midcentury house in Palm Springs, California, within spaces of sublime quiet and at the edge of the wilderness of Joshua Tree, the high desert and the San Jacinto Mountains, I’m struck again by the power of a new environment to radicalize the basic principles that have always driven my work: asymmetry, asperity (the roughness or irregularity of things,) simplicity, austerity and intimacy -- all nudging toward a striving for balance, rhythm, harmony and defiant softness.
“There is nothing you can see that is not a flower; there is nothing you can think that is not the moon." (Matsuo Basho)
YOU WERE HERE
“Obos” is a Japanese term for a pile of rocks on top of one another. The obos merely says, “I was here.” A balanced, obvious rock pile, the obos is the creation of human hands. Also, if it is knocked down or desecrated, it is easily rebuilt. It serves as a symbolic sanctuary, a place of refuge and contemplation, a hideout, a shrine, a place of new direction.
The Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi and its principles acknowledge that objects and experiences are most beautiful when they evoke a feeling of spiritual longing. These paintings also strive to offer simultaneously, a place of visual shelter and excitement and to occupy space with objects that blur the signifiers of gender, craft and monuments.
As much as my paintings seek to embody colourfield foundations and to straddle the ineffable sensations of weightiness and weightlessness, they're also concerned with tactile materiality and surface illusions. The flatness of saturated void spaces and their edges are meticulously created freehand -- without digital or mechanical aids: no projection, resist or tape are used.
"Never let go of the fiery sadness called desire." (Matsuo Basho)
COLOUR, MOVING AND STILL
A painting is a monument. It serves for engagement, consideration, and contemplation. It celebrates as an object of desire, a provocateur, and a companion. My paintings exist to honour the act of painting by focusing on formal elements, working to achieve perfect tonal balance, harmony and rhythm. The placement of equally intense colours within color families is an effort to achieve a lyrical pleasure, vibration, tension or halation. By reducing subject matter and external references, warm and cool associations can be explored along with motif, patterning, compositional movement and saturation.
The paintings clearly present themselves as paintings, but toy with idea of bed covering, a suedey textile, a worn and stretched work of craft. In this reference I'm blurring the distinction between high art and craft, between the realms of domesticity and precious objects. I strive to create a place to "go" in my paintings, to be calm while experiencing pleasure in their rhythm, disappearances and their allusions to nature.
"Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect." (Richard R. Powell)