Painting Reflections 2016 WoRks by Ty Bishop

Starting 2016

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.

The Fountain Comission

I had the priveledge of being commissioned by a family in Houston. This was my first comission, and I was anxious the entire time I made it that they were going to hate the pieces. To my relief, they loved them. These paintings helped me develop the ideas from Mansion on a larger scale.

Fountain no.1, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36in.
Fountain no.2, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36in.

Works on Paper

Limited in both resources and studio space, I decided to work on a smaller scale for a short time in order to understand my process. Though these aren't drawings, they served me in the same way that Old Masters would draw before they would start a painting. Jackson Pollock also had a surprising amount of works on paper as well which contributed to his process.

Though only a few works from this series are worth looking at, they allowed me to really figure out what was working and what wasn't. I made between 20-30 works in this series. I should also say that I also experimented with paper cut outs, which of course is an inspiration from Matisse's cut outs.

Dully Piety, 2016, acrylic and charcoal on Reeves BFK
The Last Thing, 2016, acrylic and charcoal on Reeves BFK.
What the Heart is and What it Feels, 2016, acrylic and charcoal on Reeves BFK
This Way and That, 2016, acrylic and charcoal on Reeves BFK.
The Wild Heart of Life, 2016, acrylic and pencil on Reeves BFK

Going Forward

I worked on the paper series from about May to October. Looking back, I'm surprised that I spent half of the year on this series. Of course, this wasn't the only thing I was doing in this time. I also made a handful of works on raw canvas which I worked in the same way.

Known the Pleasure, 2016, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 20 x 16in.
Stumbled Homewards, 2016, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 20 x 16in.
Vauge Acts, 2016, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 20 x 16in.

Form and Expression

As you may notice, solid colors and shapes take a dominance in my work. These came because from the shapes in the photographs I was referencing. It also came from the study I'm currently doing on the classical understanding of form which was thought that "all form is a radiance of the glory of God". In medival times, the creationism world view saw everything as a results from the first light.

This goes back to how I process "truth". If all form is from God, then there is truth - and thus meaning - in all form. This is a very important shift in my work. If form carry some element of truth (and meaning), then as an artist, it isn't my job to come up with form (it would be impossible to) but to express it. I still include components of solid colored forms in these works, but the emphasis is on the marks and fluidity of paint.

Untitled, 2016, acrylic and latex on canvas, 24 x 36 in.
Untitled, 2016, acrylic and latex on canvas, 24 x 14
Untitled, 2016, acrylic and latex on canvas, 36 x 24in,
Untitled, acrylic and oil on canvas, 48 x 36in
Untitled, 2016, oil and acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36in.


While I haven't arrived at my answer to abstraction, my understanding of form and expression have deepened in many ways that I think reflects in the work. I look forward to sharing my future work with you.

Thank you to all those who have included my work in their collections and those who have supported my work in other ways. You truly are a gift to me and help me move forward.

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Ty Bishop

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