Back in graduate school a respected visiting artist came to my studio. She took in my digs in a single panoramic sweep, locked eyes with me and intoned gravely, “You have got to focus.” I was scared straight. In the years since I’ve stayed pretty faithfully inside the rails of what has become my oeuvre: iconic figurative paintings with a story.
In 2010, 2 decades later, my dedication failed. I was knocked right off my tracks by the simplest of events: a vibrant fall leaf season. Each day I would walk to my studio through the glowing woods and arrive with a head full of staggering color. Apparently, being a couple years out from cancer treatment, the timing was just right for me to say to hell with the rails and have an unfettered fling with color. Break the rules! Meander! Play!
I continue to have all sorts of fun in my new category, as well as my old. But that small permission 5 years ago opened a veritable Pandora’s box and a whole slew of “problems” arrived. I now have two totally different bodies of work—and often two totally different audiences. (Are you interested in the figurative or the landscape?) For each show I need to choose one sort of work, or the other, for focus within the exhibit.
But it seems that inside the “new” category I am continually diverging. That one Inspiring Fall faded. “Landscape” became “abstract/landscape”, then became “pattern/abstract/landscape” or “conceptual landscape” or textural exploration ignoring landscape altogether, then became…
This show. Which has developed into a veritable study in divergence.
Still, there are several threads I’m following (swinging around on, tying in knots, weaving then unraveling, flinging to the wind):
Surface quality and surface depth: I prefer (for now) to remain within the limits of acrylics, but I jealously admire the surface qualities of cold wax, encaustic and oil. Occasionally I see an acrylic surface I can truly love and several pieces here, or parts of them, come close to that pinnacle.
Palette: Color play! This is how I ended up off the rails to begin with.
Title/theme: Some pieces here were completed before our theme was conceived. But the concept uncharted has had a direct influence on others. I must confess that in my divergent mind the “un” fell away and I kept thinking charted… data graphing, grids and patterns. How about a bubble chart of a forest? Or a bar graph of a city? This is how Forest Grid, Big Cheese and related pieces arrived.
At the show you can let me know if you notice other threads I’ve left off my list.
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