what abstraction means to me
I just finished the little assignment that I gave myself and the other 14 artists in the abstraction show that I'm curating...to write a short personal statement about abstraction. I'm looking forward to seeing these--the few that have been shared with me were quite deep and introspective. They weren't just recycled previous artist statements, either, which impressed me. As for my own statement, I'm copying it below. It took me much longer than I thought it would to write--it's just really hard to explain much about the thought process behind a painting. In a sketchbook of mine from the early 80s, there is a note I made to myself as I headed off to graduate school. The note said, “I want to learn how to make good abstract paintings, and I have absolutely no idea how.” Over twenty years later, I’m still working on this challenge. I’ve definitely made progress, but I’m not sure I’ll ever reach the deepest levels of expression that I sense are possible with this approach.
The pull of abstraction for me is its complex mix of the subconscious and the visible. Ideas for my work, while compelling, are often as hard to pin down and express as a dream. Their sources are varied and interwoven--the natural world, memories, sensations, associations, impressions, spiritual ideas, geometric forms and personal symbols. They find expression in layers of texture, unexpected juxtapositions, suggestions of landscape, and nuances of color. Each painting is an open-ended exploration, undertaken with a blend of spontaneity and careful analysis. It is my hope that in the end, my work has a degree of clarity and integrity that invites contemplation.