The very first multiple-panel painting that I did, back in 2003, was a horizontal arrangement of five square panels. In the year that followed, my work gradually shifted into mostly vertical formats, and within another year or so I completely abandoned horizontal work. I think this strong preference for verticality has been a way into abstraction for me, removed as it is from traditional landscape/horizontal interpretations. I love vertical work for its own sake too--for its associations with architecture, and for its somewhat unexpected presence when pushed to extremes (as in my Column series.)
So I'm not abandoning the tall and narrow (or the square, with its own appealing attributes...)but in the past few months I've found myself working with side by side panels--in a few paintings anyway. And it seems a little ironic that given my original urge to distance myself from landscape, these paintings all have linear elements suggesting tree trunks and other plant life. I posted
a few weeks ago about botanical imagery emerging in recent work, and the discussion that followed has helped this direction to sink in and feel rightly "mine."
The creative process always seems to be looping back on itself...but we emerge from each round in a new place. Perhaps face to face with an older idea, but now it exists in a new context, with new possibilities. It occurs to me that revisiting and revitalizing older ideas may be the most authentic expressions, since each of us seems to gravitate towards certain themes in our lifetime of work, and these become richer, more individualized and more resonant with layers of experience.
(The painting above is as yet untitled, 60"x24' oil and wax on panel.)