A very large painting I’ve been working on sporadically since the winter of 2014 was finished just in time for the fall Biennial Faculty Exhibition. I had been hoping to complete it because I was anxious to see it outside of my cramped studio and under traditional gallery lights. The canvas was so big it barely negotiated the corners in my outer office or fit through the door frame. Here is an image of the work.
Hiccup, 2014-15, acrylic on canvas, 67″ x 90″
Unfortunately for the presentation on this site, there are optical effects in the painting that cannot be captured in a digital image; they can only be seen in person and become more apparent as one moves from left to right or right to left in relationship to the painting.
Having failed to be selected for the highly competitive art residencies I had applied for this spring, I decided to create my own. Soliciting advice from friends, former students, a few professional colleagues, and family members, I began to search for places where I might rent a studio. Since my original target was the Northeast, I focused my search on New York City. I was pointed to a great reference for sublets on studio spaces in the NYC area: Stephanie Diamond’s Listings Project. While it is a fantastic resource, it didn’t work for me–for whatever reason no one listing a studio for sublet ever responded to my emails offering to rent the spaces. As the window gradually closed on New York, I refocused on Albuquerque, where several artist-cousins live. When one of those cousins graciously offered me housing, I began looking for a studio that I could rent. I was fortunate to find one space vacant, where long waiting lists were the norm, so I snapped it up in mid-March and began making preparations to pursue my residency project in Albuquerque.
My plan called for completing several large paintings on canvas that expanded on historical artiistic developments in space and time. Working on canvas would facilitate ease of transportation and would eliminate the complexities and costs of framing large works on paper–paper being my preferred surface.
I went prepared with some digital sketches I had developed in Photoshop, so I had several different options of images I could produce. Since I still prefer the awkwardness that comes with drawing, I printed up copies of the digital sketches to work from. I taped these to the wall or the work as I hand-inscribed various layers and features of the compositions. I had to work in layers to develop the complex shapes, lines and forms that make up the completed paintings (example provided below).
Untitled, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 90″
The impetus for these works was to investigate the potential to capture a relativity of time, space, and environment. Since all the markings come from extant maps, there remains a residue of reference to specific environments and weather conditions, though the symbols rarely serve the same function in the paintings which they did in the maps. It is intended that emblems can be read in a number of ways–as marking time, expressing movement or velocities of movement/countermovement, and of evoking various ways of rendering environmental space relationships. There are additional optically variable elements to the works which cannot be observed in photos–they can only be seen by the human eye and they flip in relation to the direction of the light and the viewer’s location.
I’ve been producing a series of small drawings. These are conceived as part of a search. I like the three pieces shared below as drawings, though not necessarily as ones that achieve what I am seeking. Still each one utilizes particular strategies that I’m hoping lead to something more substantive. I’m completely perplexed at this point what to call these works. I gave some working titles, similar to the way a novelist might develop a temporary title for her new book. I exhibited two of these drawings in a faculty exhibition that came down at the end of October. I’d welcome comments or reactions because they can help me assess my intentions and personal reactions against independent readings.