Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New Collection: "Girl"

"Girl"     24" x18" x 5"
Gouache and High Voltage electricity
on corrugated fiberboard
This is the most recent piece I've done and it feels like it could be the end of this collection.

The painting started off with a stamp I found in a bargain bin at an art store. Amongst random fruit shapes and letters I found a script word "Girl". At first, backwards and upside down, it almost looked like kanji to me: a specific type of japanese calligraphy. Immediately I thought about the significance of the stamp in japanese culture, how a painting's worth was often determined by the people who had owned and signed it (through stamps).

How is a thing changed by the labels and signs we use to explain, define, and classify it? What about a person?

Here the tension and emotion created by the top layer which has been electrocuted repeatedly is intensified by a polyurethane coating, increasing the reflectivity and creating an almost shell-like appearance.

The figure in the center, created by the revealed bottom red layer which has been coated in layers of poly-acrylic resin, ink, and salt crystals, is actually the recurring "girl" stamp pattern which has been inverted, outlined, and splattered with paint. Again, what remains primary is the highlighting of natural, stylistic elements through outline and color contrast.

New Collection: "La Guitarra"

"La Guitarra"     24" x 18" x 5"
Gouache and High Voltage electricity
on corrugated fiberboard
After "Stripes" I didn't know what to do next. While I was brainstorming my brother, an aspiring musician here in Miami decided to set up on my patio where I work. Under the spinning ceiling fans I was serenaded, and it seemed even the mosquitos were lulled from their swarm.

After he left to go play at one of his gigs (probably the barracuda bar in the grove), I picked up his acoustic guitar and ran my fingers across the strings. After pretending to play Flamenco for a while I decided that it was as good of a model for a painting as anything else. So, I traced it onto my painting, an outline I later burnt away and replaced with a Polyurethane coated pattern of thinly painted lines: the pattern which decorated the wooden face of the guitar.

The texture on the surface of the painting, specifically the red abstractions which seem to be emanating from the guitar, was achieved by adding high water content paint to layers of salt. Again, I tried to focus as much as I could on the natural development of the painting, how the process itself shaped the resulting image. 

New Collection: "Stripes"

"Stripes"     18" x 24" x 4"
Gouache and High Voltage Electricity
on corrugated fiberboard
After "Sunset" I decided to move away from reference material all together and allow myself a little more liberty in creative expression. This piece was the most difficult one so far.

For this work I decided to go back to the idea of the layers being separate from one another, and how the interplay of unlike parts could create an interesting whole. This effect was intensified by the highlighted repeating pattern of orange and red which, unlike the green and blue, is on one plane yet contrasts enough to pull the viewer in.

Ultimately what became the most important part of this piece was the organic patterns which arose from high water content. The blending between the red and white is highlighted by thin, white, black, and red lines.

New Collection: "Sunset"

"Sunset"    24" x 18" x 8"
Gouache and High Voltage electricity
on corrugated fiberboard
After my first piece in this collection I decided I needed some new reference material. Seeing as how I really don't have much experience with contemporary art, I decided to branch out to try and find someone to teach me a thing or two. I started with a long conversation with one my friends who is also an artist, currently at school in California. What stuck with me most from the talk were the fragments that seemed almost rehearsed, like they had been repeated to her over and over till they stuck. Strange words like "atmosphere", a metaphor for the foundations of a painting, far removed from my knowledge of atmosphere in its literal sense. Similarly, she told me to move away from geometric shapes, and to allow my art to be expressed beyond the boundaries of the canvas, separate and unconcerned with them.

What I came up with was "sunset", ironically my homage to geometric abstraction. What was important for me in this piece is the relation between the colors and the dynamic edges of the work. The fanning which occurs on three sides of the piece is actually multiple layers of corrugated fiberboard cemented together, this is complemented by the one static edge on the bottom left, and is intended to complicate the boundaries between where my art begins and ends.

The electrical burning creates a deep fissure which runs along the edge of the blue, this depth is a stark contrast between the rising layers of yellow, white, and ultimately red.

My favorite part of this piece is the marbling effect that occurred in the topmost yellow layer: a result of the burning process and other factors. 

New Collection: "Pattern-1"

"Pattern-1"   24"x18"x5"
Gouache and High voltage electricity
on corrugated fiberboard
These new pieces come out of a movement away from works which are rigidly defined and who's influences are clear and limited. As such this piece "Pattern-1", being the first of the collection, was an experiment in pattern and deviation. 

I wanted to examine the compounding nature of contemporary art (visual and non visual); how different works across populations interact, and build off of and upon one another. I also wanted to show how most art is by nature allegorical, with meaning which is not always obvious but often hidden. 

As with all my art most of the motivation comes from the process itself i.e. works are in flux and change dramatically from one stage to another. The electrocution process, for example, changes the color and texture of the paint; when the burning is severe enough it allows for access to deeper layers which I paint separately, and all of the black in the painting is the strong, burnt, charcoal color. 

Most of the feedback I have received from this piece likens it to street art or graffiti. This is probably because of the stencil-like appearance of the enlarged stamp pattern, the dripping white gesso, and the bold color contrasts. The reference material I used for this work was fairly eclectic, ranging from old birth announcements my parents had printed while they owned their printing company, to a graffiti reference book "Graffiti World". But, it is clear that my past history with street art has presented itself here.