New conversations

(above, Untitled, latex and enamel on panel, 2007)

Besides spending a lot of studio time recently doing drawings, I've also intermittently been working on some large (for me) piece on a found door panel, and one or two smaller pieces.
The large piece was an interesting experiment in how a painting acts much like a conversation (from a quote by Brice Marden in a recent Artforum article).

The door was originally finished with a shellac or lacquer-type material, and sports a large white splash of house paint near the center; it looks like someone cleaned out their brush on the inside of a closet door. I first laid out some shapes I'd recently been using; each one being a stylized part of one heart: a tear drop shape, and a dimpled circle shape.

Back several years ago, when I heard Richard Artschwager speak at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia) I remember him mentioning his famous "blip" as being a "period in motion." That is, a thing of irony; of paradox and of searching. (It is a capsule shape). I think of these two shapes in a similar way...they are things unto themselves, but they are in a way swimming around in this space, looking for each other...they are objects of tension; of "unrequited love" if you will (thanks to Charlie Brown for that phrase).

Anyway, the conversation began with my laying down a few of these; at first, it was fairly easy. One played off the other, and then the third played off the other two, etc. With color choices, it became more involved...and paradoxically easier. (Much like conversation with people whom you have gotten to know better over time...some things become understood, so your conversation can become more complex without becoming impossible.) I kept painting shapes until the space usage seemed balanced, but there was more needed; the conversation was still unfinished. So, to help in unifying the painting, I decided to add some dancing, arcing lines of an almond color, which helped to solidify the conversation.

After looking at this for several weeks, it became apparent that there was still more to I began augmenting several parts of some of the lines with other colors; colors that were in the composition elsewhere, as counterpoints of sorts. And so, finally after doing some of those, and really listening, paying attention to the painting, I felt the conversation was over. The painting is so far untitled...

(Above, Demiurge, latex and enamel on found panel, 2007)

Another painting I made in the last few weeks took only a few hours to make, but was of the type which was on my mind and in my sketchbook for the last few months. I was enamored a while back with a stylized, almost vacuous face, made of basic shapes like circles and capsule shapes. Originally I'd entitled it Totem, since it was this face, stacked, but after reading a bit about Gnosticism, I found another title which I thought fit well. And I finally found the right match for this basket-weave framed panel! (Going through several applied painting ideas does make for an interesting surface, though.)

Seeing as there are still two pink pistols underneath this image, I like the title even more; it evokes something of the fallen angel; the inferior god who resorts to futile power to get his way.

the fourth samba  – (Tuesday, 06 February, 2007)  

I often find painintgs like "Demiurge" hard to pull off, but the other day when working in the studio, I went in for a peek and spotted the gnostic totem.
I'd say you pulled this one. I don't know how, I don't know if it's the basket (old and sort of visually obsolete) juxtaposed to the futuristic Atariesque faces, or the composition within the basket shape plus the contrast of the stark black and white with the subtle tinge of pink...

...when I mention the difficulty in pulling a painting like this off, I don't mean the usage of the basket, I mean the atari video game face. There's a lot of that work that just doesn't come through. But this joint is on time. peace.

GIERSCHICK  – (Tuesday, 06 February, 2007)  

Hey R...I'm not sure how or why my work "works" all the time (much of the time, actually) but I try not to question too much what seems to work despite myself! I really have been gravitating towards the idea of "listening" to a piece or a surface or a color: much like the immense and yet intimate mystery of the Spirit...

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