Struck by the variety of imagery and formats in my work, a recent studio visitor remarked about how many different things I have going on. I thought about that over the weekend as I finished up a number of small 12"x12" paintings, and as usual, ended up with a range of solutions to the unique puzzle each had presented. Some paintings emerge as soft and atmospheric with gestural imagery, and some are rather severe and geometric. Others fall someplace along that continuum. (Examples below: the two extremes of soft and geometric, top and middle image: Echoes
and Timanfaya #4
, and at the bottom, in between idea, Zoco
. All are 12"x12" oil on panel.)
I think this range is the result of my process-oriented approach (following leads that emerge during the act of painting) as well as the fact that I use the materials themselves with an experimental attitude. The longer I work with cold wax medium and a variety of tools, the more techniques and ideas I have to draw upon, and the richer the mix. There is an energy to this exploration of process and materials that compels me to keep trying new things and shaking up the older ideas.
At the same time, I pull back from paintings I'm working on that seem too different, not "me" enough. While this may seem counter-productive, I trust that over time whatever is sincere and real there will re-emerge in a more integrated way. I have always believed that, at least for myself, true change happens in an evolved and incremental manner. At this point, all of the various threads in my paintings have come about through honest searching. All seem to me hard-won, and of the same body of work.
In working on my newly designed website, I decided to present my work in the context of several conceptual categories, rather than in the simple divisions of single and multiple panels that appeared on my old website. Deciding upon these
was a helpful exercise for me. While these are not strict divisions--many of the paintings could have been placed in more than one category--grouping them helped me identify my own thematic and visual explorations.
I admire many artists whose output is far more diverse than my own, while remaining true and centered on a unique aesthetic. I believe it's a good thing to be open to diversity of expression, to whatever extent that it suits our own needs, and to trust that following new paths will still bring us home in the end.