In my work from the last ten years (Islands, Abstracted Landscapes
and Black Drawings series) I am interested in exploring how we have
associations with certain visual cues and pictorial conventions which create
certain perceptual expectations.
I want to complicate the visual experience by supporting
some of these conventions while undermining others, by having multiple visual
languages concurrent within one image and by having areas of the painting in
direct contradiction or conflict with each other. The psychological space of holding simultaneously and
contradictory beliefs or perceptions—that tension is what interests me in
exploring as an artist and producing in the viewer.
In the Island images, a series I have worked in since 2003,
I have consistently upended perceptual anchors such as curving or tilting the
horizon line, having something in deep space overlap something in the
foreground—leading to huge spatial/scale shifts and inversing rules of
atmospheric perspective when it comes to color and sharpness. I want these shifts and the dissonance
they create to almost happen imperceptibly and for this I use the cinematic
dissolve as my inspiration and visual tactic—one thing seamlessly blending into
another so that you are seeing/believing one thing and then gradually
another. Part of complicating the
experience of the images is also in the polymorphic form of the Islands
themselves which have human, animal, vegetable, and mechanical attributes and
can hold these different categories simultaneously so that the paintings can be
both figurative and landscape, fusions and icons.
In the Abstracted Landscape series I have continued my
interest in upending visual expectations by plugging in abstract color into a
landscape which is based on a real space.
Using a plein air approach to find certain spatial relationships as an
armature for the image, I then used color and pattern in an abstract way to
directly contradict the linear perspective of the drawing. I felt as if knowing that the space was
real and then uncoupling the color from this reality would create tension of a
simultaneous experience. My latest
experiments have now been to use local color but to plug this into the ‘wrong’
spaces (earth color in the sky area, florescent light in the shape of a cast
shadow). Instead of looping back
into realism, I have found that using known spaces and now colors in a
counter intuitive way creates almost more psychological tension between what we
expect visually and what we experience.
This increased visual and mental tension I think comes from
the echoes of the recognizable and how these cues encourage a greater
subliminal belief into the landscape thus making the distortions more
intimate. I’ve begun researching
into this idea of holding multiple states simultaneously. In the work of Oliver Sacks he delves
into the physical, perceptual and psychological ramifications of this kind of
simultaneity. This experience of complexity seems relevant in terms of
contemporary life, technology and contemporary painting.
I am also continuing to use several paintings
techniques—graphic, blurred, gestural to more patterned so that the experience
of seeing the painting is also a multiple one.
In the black drawings I explore this idea of visual
associations through polymorphic form—oftentimes architecture with figurative
elements such as bunkers that look like heads. Technically, the limited palette of whites, blacks and
grisalle gives the impression of apparent simplicity, clarity and seamlesness. Black becomes a vehicle for much of
this polymorphism—it functions in a perceptual way as a lack of light, in a
graphic way as a shape, as a void and a mass.