Geometric | Abstract | Organic
The arrangement of things
The exploration of substance
My artwork, whether two-dimensional or three-dimensional, centers around several ideas about patterns, objects, and ritual. In particular the notion that an object, is a thing and that its “thingliness” is a subject (from our very first loved objects, to commodities, fetishes, even lost things). Of equal interest is the patterns these “things” create, the collections built of things; and the ritual of arrangement, the patterns we see and the patterns we create. Patterns are ancient and enduring evidence of something built into our DNA. In our human(ness), we seek the edges of things; seek to define borders and boundaries— we seek to define ourselves. In patterns we manifest our desire to impose order and control, to make sense of the arrangement of things around us.
In the cadence of shape, the fittings-together of line, the dance of colors, the sweep of movement cradled deep within form we find the ordered elements of our imaginings — meditations to find ourselves in the rituals of creating and living. To this mix add the philosophical system by Immanual Kant known as “Kantian Turn” which tackled the age old debate concerning the relationship between subject/object or self/not self (and many would say this is fruitless and absurd). Kant, stripped bare of his complexities, believed that reason or rationality do not and cannot explain or account for existence or perception. “Things,” as they appear to us, he called “phenomena” and as subject we came to understand these “things” through sense and intellect. The ‘thing” or the object in and of itself, he called “noumenon” and in its rawness it is unknowable to us. We come to its understanding mostly in a subjective way.
What Kant is saying is that trying to make sense of the object/subject (self/not self) conundrum was like trying to bite your own teeth, sure you can can click them together but to actually bite ones own teeth is completely something else. All of this is to say that after all my time working in the studio, I have never reached any lasting conclusion as to what I’m really doing in there - for me it’s still a mystery of what goes on in the studio. If you can stand the studio solitude and the all-too-human need to comprehend the self/not self or the object/subject quagmire, then paint and clay are on equal footing with a briefcase and a soccer ball.
For Kandinsky in “Concerning the Spiritual in Art,” he maintained that when its all said and done, there is no difference between pure realism and pure abstraction. To which I might add, Is the collection of things any different than the thing collected; is the ritual not both the subject and the object no less different than the thing?
Somewhere at the core of all of this is also the materials and their invitation to interact and discover and to surrender expectations when one thing is mixed with another thing. The exploration of the substance and pushing the physical limits of the material, an exploration of the possibilities and the relationships of one to the other — Alcohol to acrylic paint, heat to wax, and fire to wood.
As Kurt Vonnegut said, “and so it goes.” And so it goes with the ritual of the studio always chasing after the thing!