Sunday, June 3, 2012

Beyond Narrative Painting

Until recently I have thought of myself as a narrative painter.  It is of little concern to me weather the viewer experiences the same story that narrates in my head.  For me it has been a tool to fall back on while helping to move the process along.

I started this blog about a year ago.  One of the first photographs posted was one I took of a power line pole structure while out on a day trip.

I made an encaustic painting of that photograph.
12" x 9" encaustic and oil on paper.

I was mostly interested in introducing lines and hard edges into my painting.  Two elements that I often have avoided for no real reason that I can explain.  Both the photograph and the painting have remained on my studio wall this past year as reminders.

More recently during my flights back and forth to craft shows I started taking an interest in the lines on the tarmac at the airports.  I liked the way the lines are often painted out and repainted very close to the original markings as well as something completely different making up the new line structure.  Through the window of the plane I would get flashes and glimpses of lines which allowed me to make no meaning of them outside of these abstracted layers in my memory as they go by.  

Digital iPad Graphic from Photographs.
This is made using layers of photos of runway lines at the airport.  I duplicated and flipped images and added a few color washes using an app for iPad called ArtRage.

Digital iPad Graphic from Photographs.
The lines crossing over the vast openness of runway segments remind me of the power line pole structures.   My memory and internal imaging of both tarmac lines and power lines do the same thing.  They make slices over fast swatches of tone fields.

...and there is no story.  

No Narrative.

This has been, and continues to be, my direction.  I have a formal structure that can have numerous starting points and can be deconstructed in many ways.  The elements lend them selves to a formal abstraction without tricking my head into making up a story that goes along with it.  I read these as pure visual fields. 

The idea of setting them up as diptychs, triptychs and larger came out of making the first series of prints with Steve Ford in his studio.  He assisted me in making the first set of colograph  plates to print with and we ran a series of prints.  The drawing for the line structure of these was made completely from my memory of these photographs of tarmac lines and power lines.  They are based on the impulse of what I like about them.  This steps further from a representational aspect of the original images.  I made these prints as a starting point to paint into but some are left as purely prints. 
Diptych, 15" x 22" print

The repeats and rhythms made visual sense to me as I paired them up.  They tend to act like narrative images only in their sense of time.  To me, they are like the flickering of movie film as it hangs up in the sprockets of a projector.  Something is happening over time but the visual keeps running you back and forth over the same few frames as if to say, "just stop and look at this."

10" x 40" acrylic,gouache,distemper and ink on paper

In these days of News, Noise and Narratives I really appreciate the moments where the movie gets hung up in the projector's sprockets.  My studio time is spent attempting to make something special of those frozen glitchy moments.

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