OCTOBER 2017: BROOKLYN, NYC
Brief Statement About the Machine Series
In his description of Eugene Delacroix's life work, Charles Baudelaire writes about the large works of artists of the time as machines. Delacroix himself referred to some of his large works as machines as they have many different objects, people and qualities that had to be structured and painted with immense precision for the work to succeed.
When I began touching the steel remainders, considering what to do with them, I was aware that they are related to very different kinds of machines: the gas and Diesel engine. This work represents a folding together of concerns that have been present in my work since the start with new information which include issues of industry, technology and anthropology. Earlier work saw structuring elements and motifs that were drawn from responses to both nature and culture - (culture as in architecture, sculpture and painting).
In the Machine Series, found pattern becomes the organizing principle and springboard to concept.The pre-determined shapes from laser-cut sheets of steel are by-products of the auto-engine production. Adding "industry" as content to on-going issues of culture and nature increases potential for the studio, long engaged with formal problems of fusing (painterly) language, systems and principles of order with that of improvisation.
The found patterns of the steel remainders become new armatures for draping or delineating solid or veiled areas of color, simultaneously evoking the figure, landscape industry and technology.
In my work I use the basic elements of line, plane and ground to investigate concepts of painterly language. Painted freehand with intuitive color choices, the pattern, fracture, shifts and realignments recapture the dynamic movement that underlies everything from the ocean's floor to a modernist building
My longtime interest in classical art, architecture and atmosphere is filtered through the lessons of 20th and 21st century abstraction, pop abstraction, and contemporary figuration. I paint to consider the conceptual possibilities available to painting today and where it could go from here.
There is a recognition of the history of story telling, myth, cultural lore and icons from differing centuries and continents and an understanding of how the past is comprehended and experienced in this moment.
The work is not lampooning the scale and scope of the ocean, a volcano, a Roman myth- or an architectural style. Instead, I'm aware of the relational nature of these things and so, I recapture these elements as remembrances and forms that have been sidelined in our own culture as immediate and ironic. I re-engage with some of these dialogues by putting them back in play, to exalt beauty -- and as a celebration of aesthetic pleasure.