I began 2016 frustrated. I didn't feel that I was saying anything new or that my paintings carried much meaning. Going to the incredibly curated Jackson Pollock expo (I went five times) at the Dallas Musueum of Art allowed me to see first hand the origins of Abstract Expressionism and see the "poetry" that I find instrinic to Jackson Pollocks drip paintings. His fluid lines all seem to have an embedded purpose behind them. While refreshed in the oasis of his paintings, I left more frustrated than when I began. Perhaps I was just enlightened.
Thoughts on Abstraction
Abstraction is hard. Though I have heard a few say abstraction is easy (or that it takes less talent), I've yet to see any of these voices make anything noteworthy themselves. Abstraction is made even more difficult by the fact that so many talented artist are currently making it. How do you make something that's original? The answer to this question lies not in thinking, but in making. It takes time to develop work. I've had a year to answer this question. Though my answer isn't complete, I made many attempts in 2016.
Informed Eyes & Ears
If you look at art history, artistic development is never isolated. Every painter I can think of was in some relationship with another well known artists. Most famous of this is Picasso and Baraque who together invented Cubism. Having said this, I'm very thankful for those that had the patience to listen to me try and explain myself and given honest feedback (you would be surprised how difficult it is to get someone to tell you that your painting isn't successful). Justin Archer and Nickolai Lanier did both of these for me, and I am grateful.
Mansion, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24in.
Moment of Departure
Mansion was my first successful attempt at a new approach to abstraction. In this painting, the blue and black shapes are referencing a photograph of a landscape that was converted to black and white shapes. I layer these shapes with an intuiative mark making process. The juxtaposition of the marks referencing external reality (the shapes from the photograph) and the internal (the inuative marks) shows my visual process for understanding truth which must come from outside of oneself, but be understood in a way that's personal.