The work in this series is transitional and brings a new way of engaging with landscape. It poses questions of external and internal landscape with the title “Bandwidth” since bandwidth can be both a measure of data transfer for communication as well as a figurative term to indicate overload of personal capacity for an individual.
Where do mistakes fit in an art practice? I was forced to answer that question when the work in my series “Bandwidth” was not dry and had to be moved and stored due to Covid-19 pandemic. Flexible mylar and oil pigment stick paint allowed me to roll up this work from my artist retreat and deliver to my studio, where it finally dried over several months of sheltering in place. When unrolled the paint was on both sides so I needed to figure out what this new manifestation of my concept had become. Do I embrace the flaw?
The flaw was fine as my process is to accept mistakes as inevitable. What did I do with my ruined paintings? I decided to slice the paintings into narrow panels and devise a way to hang from the wall. The installation pieces are activated by how much bandwidth you desire since personal capacity is very individual.
The title of this series “On Pause” is what happens to a person when experience is interrupted to mark a moment. When you are not on pause its hard to see what matters. Perspective is important when making decisions. The word “perspective” has two meanings, one is a drawing skill about how to see objects in space. The second is a particular attitude toward regarding something such as limits for safety. There is a spiritual aspect to pausing for a moment of reflection or reverie.
I finished this series at an artist retreat just before the end of March 2020 when New York shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. When I looked at the work again after several months of sheltering in place, the red horizon became a metaphor for a very changed global society. In these panels I see the horizon as a line of global health care workers striving to heal the world together as the first line of defense. I also see a figurative “point of no return” to the world as we knew it prior to March 2020.
My continuing obsession with horizon and all massive bodies of water continues in these paintings on paper made with cyanotype chemistry and tea. The water always matters when images are processed so I am drawn to only creating this series of cyanotype at a particular place and time. Unobstructed sunlight is also critical to my process. True Horizon is a term which refers to the fact that when you are at sea, the horizon you see is truly the edge of the earth because you are on water. Your understanding of the horizon is dependent on how high above sea level you are. Greater height allows you to see further when actually viewing physical horizon.
Endless space, time and vison are my concept of true horizon and today all are a precious resource. Bands of mostly blue color are revealed by partial processing while water washes gently over the paper. Time and space are apparent by what is rinsed away or remains exposed above water. The horizon becomes above or below whether verso or recto is viewed. Both are there on one sheet of paper dipped in chemistry and tea before exposure and processing to saturate the object. Ships bring tea and sink in the ocean. Sunlight warms us all. When you are on land the true horizon appears but is dependent on your location above sea level and local typography.
I have been interested in how the mind can call back imagery of the past for as long as I can remember. Our family vacations are spent mostly on the edge of a large body of water, the ocean or lake. I have spent time watching the horizon line all of my life. 40 Days and 40 Nights is the culmination of images in my mind collected over time manifested as objects depicting a reverie of memory.
These paintings of highly abstracted horizon are shaped by how vision translates to object. Many viewers express they have been to the place they identify the paintings referencing. Light and texture of atmosphere are constant themes in my work. I use thin layers of encaustic medium and paint to evoke depth; surface texture reflects light much as my subjects do. Carving into the layers of paint creates another abstract aspect for movement. This large body of small works is about imagery of the space between what we see and what we know.
It took me a long time to learn to call this work reductive. I had thought of my self as a minimalist primarily but have since come to learn that reductionism tends to refer to taking a large topic and breaking it down into the simplest form or bare essentials. The concept of vast space above and below is what this series is about. In addition the peace that comes from contemplation of a vast space is universal to all who view the work. All the paintings in this series refer to solace from spiritual trials often experienced in life. Peace comes from working through strife or completing a passage. Making this series is meditative to me by repetition of hand in the physical act of painting. When I view these paintings there is a sense of another universe, a community of voices standing together.
This work is about the inner and outer landscape of mind – perceptions and sensations evoked by edges of conscious thought and vision. Images of highly abstracted color as seen through either vertical or horizontal spaces within larger fields of paint evoke the way a person might experience the outside world through a turret window or the visor of a helmet from ancient times. How a person sees the world while being attacked or while defending themselves in such a narrow slice of vision to me seems very abstract. Reducing landscape mass to the brilliant coloration of the insect world is another abstraction as the pestilence outside increases in scale. Paintings in this series are multi layered, made using pigmented beeswax and inspired by the novels of Shirley Jackson and the HBO series Game of Thrones.
“Am I walking toward something I should be running away from?”— Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House