To rough quote an Artistic mentor, As an artist, you should always be observing, always be contemplating what you have observed, and then always be inventing from what you have learned. I have used this as the North Star in all my artistic endeavors.
Listed below are some of my recent and simultaneous works that I have divided into different series, because they start from a different jumping off points, but they can and do merge and inform each other in the process of execution.
These paintings are part of the series I call Bitter Rice. They have been produced after revisiting the painting ‘Excavation’ (1950) by Willem deKooning.
In my research I found that deKooning credited the 1949 Italian neorealist film Bitter Rice as having given him the idea for his widely regarded painting.
The film is somewhat of a muddled mix of ambitions, part social commentary, part crime drama. Scenes depict workers, who are planting rice seedlings in flooded fields, and are involved in a labor dispute. The scene, as shot from above, devolves into fighting and wrestling in the churning ground, all sharp elbows and thrashing limbs. Similar shapes and contortions are a driving force in this work.
Equally interesting to me is Fernand Legér’s ‘Contrast of Form' series, (1914) which can be described as a battle of volumes. The rigor of deKooning’s merging of cubist and surrealist space with the movement and implied volume of Legèr are both part of the dialogue now in my studio.
It is in these areas that I seek to create new logical systems of defining form in abstraction. This is not just a formal examination, but my desire to speak to forces that propel us forward and to reflect on our place in the cosmos.
Willem deKooning, Excavation, (1950)
The Card Game is what I have chosen to call a portion of my current painting practice. This work revolves around strategies I employ to bring narrative and imagery to an otherwise purely abstract painting. I have taken my cues from many sources but most singularly from Fernand Léger and particularly his drawing study “The Card Game’ (1917). I create dynamic pictorial abstract spaces, where battling forms and suggestions of imagery and narrative interplay. It is in this shared contemplative space, that allows me freedom and autonomy. This in turn, is why I choose to call this body of work ‘The Card Game’.
Fernand Léger, The Card Game, (1917)