unity and variety
Recently I posted several new small paintings on facebook, including the one above, Strata #1
, 12"x12", oil and mixed media on panel. Below is another from what has become a series, Strata #2
So far I have also done one larger painting that also relates. This one is as yet untitled, 40"x40."
There was a consensus among the people leaving comments about these paintings that they showed definite change, something new in my work. This is true, but it’s not that I have suddenly switched direction and headed off on a completely new road. The truth is, I always have more than one path I am following. Here are some other paintings I have recently finished—I can see relationships between all of my work, both finished or in progress.
, 48"x72" oil and mixed media on panel. Georgia #1
, 12"x12" oil and mixed media on panel. Geo
, 48"x36", oil and mixed media on panel.
, 12"x12" oil and mixed media on panel.
My studio feels rich with ideas when I have various groups of work in play. And I find that change, when it happens, comes about as a synthesis of ideas. I can see aspects of what emerges as a new idea in other paintings, both in those in progress and in older work. For example, I trace the visual ideas in the small Strata paintings at the beginning of this post to the many white paintings I have done in the past, as well as to all the paintings involving solvent lines I've been doing for the past few years (marks made by dissolving areas in the upper layer of paint with a brush dipped in solvent.) For example, this painting from 2011, Zoco #2
, 12"x12" oil and mixed media on panel, was an earlier exploration of using a variety of marks and lines made with solvents:
I often think about the principle of unity and variety that we all learned about in Art Appreciation 101--the idea that an individual work of art--or, I would add, a body of work by one artist--ideally embodies both cohesiveness and exploration. The strength, the structure, the staying power comes from what unifies the work...the new ideas and changes keep it fresh.