Sunday, June 1, 2008
The Shower Series
I believe that challenging oneself is always a good thing. It helps you to conquer fears, explore previously intimidating ground and hopefully emerge with more experience as a result.
I thought that painting clear plastic would be challenging in that it would force me to paint with a bit of abstraction. It is a paradox really because I am just painting what I see, but the plastic distorts the figure behind it. Thus when I created each of these paintings (over the course of a year) I had to stop seeing things in sharp detail and relax my eyes to discern the simple shapes and trust that when I stood back from the piece it would all cohere together. It is as close to abstraction that I have ever been.
It is difficult to paint something that can barely be seen. The same goes for lace, gauze, anything translucent or diaphanous. I paint in a planar, chunky style anyway so it was even more apparent in these paintings, which was fun. I get pretty close to the paintings as I work on them so it was great to step back a good distance and see what came together or did not work. To paint something that is there but not there is quite a challenge. It really was a treat to paint more organic shapes, with less worry about fingernails and eyelashes.
As with my other work I wanted to capture Laura in a moment of contemplation, perhaps a moment of doubt or reflection...again and always, the answer is unclear. Laura is always amenable to my sometimes strange requests, such as standing in her shower while I clambered about for a good angle. She and my friend Gayle both live in places where there is a career's-worth of paintings waiting to happen. Both environments are large and inviting, creativity flourishes there. I am very fortunate and appreciative that they let me into their personal spaces.
"The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and, ironically, the more real."