Monday, April 01, 2013

First Pass on a Final Piece for the Semester

As usual, exploring the effects of different orientations

close-ups of specific techniques of burial and excavation
So this painting is 4' x 8', and the scale is critical to the theoretical basis of my work this semester so the pictures really cannot do it much justice but I'll do my best to give an accurate depiction of what's going on here.

Staring at the huge blank canvas before me, it was incredibly difficult to make the first marks.  For whatever reason the sight of such a large area of pure possibility can be slightly paralyzing, and I have this fear that my influence will ruin that purity.  To help myself, I chose one of the intuition exercise to serve as a map for my emotional state:
Now I am not using this as a 1:1 sketch for an exact composition, but more of a guide to assist me in honing in on a particular emotional memory.  In doing these exercises, I am able to quickly sketch and express and remain true to emotional responses without the distractions of conscious mental processes.  However, working on a piece of this scale I am unable to maintain a continuous expression simply because I have to pause so often to prepare materials.  To remedy this, before I start throwing things on the canvas I stop and meditate on these sketched images to tune my intuition back into the region of memory response that I achieved during the sketch, and once I achieve that start letting my body create what it wants.  I literally use no constraints as to what artistic techniques I use: if I want to throw dirt and plans in with the paint I go outside and dig a hole and mash the dirt into the canvas.  If I want plaster to dig through I mix up some paint and plaster and glob it on and start digging through it, or if I want to cut through the surfaces I find the nearest object and started scratching and grinding away.  The process is incredibly liberating, and much like the photograms reveals much more than I ever could have consciously chosen to demonstrate.

As I worked on the piece, the meditations on my memories began to take the form of a mad scramble, as if I were digging to uncover something that I knew I needed though not knowing what it was  This is what it was like for me, especially in those first few years on my own as the strict rules that governed my younger years broke down and I built a new framework to live by.  This concept took root in my mind and I naturally began to look to earth and organic matter to form the surface upon which I literally dug through to uncover previous layers on the canvas.  I plan to continue to incorporate different materials over the next month to build mass on the surface and to further support the sense of history and discovery I am working towards.

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