I'm home from my trip to Barcelona and the Canary Island of Lanzarote, and my art brain is teeming with textures--rocky, grainy, gritty, eroded, formed-by-eons of natural forces textures. And those that evolve in human time as well, walls chipped and painted over, paths worn smooth, structures built of natural components in the landscape.
I was also able to view the work of several artists whose textural abstractions appear related to these sources, at least in part--in Barcelona, at the foundation devoted to the life and work of Antoni Tápies
(which also featured the inspiring work of Anna Maria Maiolino
) and at CaixaForum, the work of Miquel Barceló
. I stood in front of these artist's works for long minutes marveling at the complexity, boldness and sure handedness of textural applications. (Tápies's work is in the top photo, Barceló's below.)
(photo taken on the island of Lanzarote, Canary Islands.)
As always, I wonder what is so compelling to me about rough, gritty texture in the landscape and in works of art. Though intriguing to the eye, these textures are not always welcoming in a tactile sense, and perhaps I'm drawn to the push-pull of visual beauty and complexity combined with this somewhat repellent aspect. (If you were to touch or place body weight upon some of these surfaces, it would not be pleasant.) But I have to relegate this insight to the subliminal...it's not something that has come to mind until writing this post. And besides, I'm just as intrigued by surfaces that are textured in a visual sense only--not necessarily rough to the touch.
What I'm much more conscious of in my attraction to texture is the weathering and aging over great expanses of time that so many of these surfaces call to mind. Since childhood I've been drawn to collecting rocks and fossils, and had an early interest in archeology, all of it related to the intrigue of uncovering ancient, buried objects.
I also love the beauty of the seemingly random, yet perfect patterns, forms and contrasts that emerge as the result of nature's forces--the striations of exposed rock or earth, the scattering of pebbles on a beach. There is underlying structure and balance to it all. As an artist, I encourage my own version of this interaction between the random and the structured to emerge through the paint, and am drawn to this in the work of others.