October 5 - 30, 2016
Friday, October 7
"Manifestation" is the configuration between what is pictorial and what is abstract. Finding the space in the painting that is sublime. Where something spiritual becomes real.
When I look back at the first artist statement I wrote for Julie Grahams’ class at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, it was about finding a safe space in my paintings, a place that was quiet, serene, holy, a space with no boundaries. My space to let go.
Most of my work has been about space, a safe space, a blurring-of-boundaries space, a free-fall space, and a divine-light space.
This exhibition is the continuation of my search for finding a safe space. A space that words cannot describe, an emerging space, a space that floats between a sense of presence and absence, a transparent space and a space of absolute light.
To make something that looks like itself is therefore the problem, the solution. — Richard Tuttle
I approach my art practice as a kōan.* This reflects an ongoing involvement with Zen Buddhism, but also the deep and abiding questions that hover, for me, over the meaning, making, and purpose of art objects.
What is intimate?
And then: What is this?
“What is this?” is the broadest, but ultimately deepest question, as it embodies all others, is rooted in the present moment, and is the one that guides me, moment to moment, into the work.
Process and material are reciprocal partners, each informing the other. Using graphite, ink, charcoal, gesso, tape, a variety of papers, and canvas remnants, I build up and break down a surface…reveal it, then obscure it… obsess over it, then ignore it … I work it until it becomes none other than itself.
Nothing is being evoked. There is no referent. There is no illusion. No narrative. No metaphor. No transformation.
There is only this.
* A kōan is a question, or statement in the history and lore of Zen Buddhism, generally containing aspects that are inaccessible to rational understanding, yet may be accessible to intuition. A famous kōan is: "Two hands clap and there is a sound; what is the sound of one hand?"
"Into the Forest"
Years ago when in college, I read a novel by Jean Hegland titled “ Into The Forest." The narrative follows two young sisters struggling to survive in the Northern California forest as society collapses around them. The idea of an apocalyptic, not so distant future seems pervasive in today’s world racked by wars, climate change, terrorist attacks, pollution and dwindling resources.
My new paintings share the underlying concept of the novel, in which survivors are forced to turn to the forest’s plants and animals for sustenance, shelter and courage. In my artwork, the natural world becomes a place of myth, wonder and danger. Its inhabitants are guardian spirits. Seeds, rocks, trees and plants are closely examined. A child-like longing to return to a more natural state takes hold.
Each painting is a journey into the woodlands, more often imagined rather than taken. In each work, the forest is a source of inspiration and comfort, offering a place of peaceful introspection.