So there it is. The new studio is finally all done, complete with ugly couch and blank canvas that’s staring me down, daring me to get started. The last of the Divine Beauty series will be coming back from “Beyond/In” to the studio later this month. In the meantime I am finally painting again after a long period of attending to the other stuff we artists do, the stuff that never makes it to life-of-an-artist bio-pics. I have two separate “series” going, and I am painting up a storm as they say, or as David Byrne once put it in a song, “I’m cleaning my mind.”
Always liked that line.
One of the two “series” consists of works in acrylic paint on paper or small pieces of unstretched canvas. For these works I am appropriating subject matter from a variety of sources, and painting very quickly in an expressionistic manner. My intent is to force myself to be very spontaneous, satisfying my need to paint expressively. The subject matter is almost arbitrary; or rather I should say that I exercise minimal consideration before selecting from a collection of previously found images. Then I paint very directly and quickly—no stopping to ponder. This results in a string of intuitive responses to the subject matter, the paint, color, and so on. It’s sort of like a boxer sparring to sharpen his instincts. My goal is to accumulate a large number of these and select ones to exhibit later.
I am three paintings into the second series of works I’m doing, and I haven’t decided yet where I am going exactly, stylistically or thematically, though I am using a slower approach here. I’m usually very calculated about the concepts I build a series around, but this time I’m keeping it loose. I am thinking about mythology in art in somewhat the same way I did with religious art, but I’m using models rather than appropriating imagery. I plan to end up somewhere in narrative-mythical-metaphoric-allegorical territory. So far the first three paintings are pretty wide apart stylistically, so I have to decide where I’m going with that. For the time being, I’m focusing on the female figure, which is a departure from the homoerotic overtones of much of the Divine Beauty series. As a result, it’s been suggested that I call this series the “I was only kidding; I’m really straight” series.