Monday, December 21, 2020

End of 2020 reflections

This semester was one of searching and re-evaluating my practice. I've been searching for my subject, who I am as an artist, and why this is important?

While I was initially following a phenomenological kind of thread, feedback from my cohort, profs, and visiting artists had led me to conclude the following: that painting about painting is not enough to connect to people, and is there anything new that I bring to the table. My work from the summer has been overshadowing the work I've done this term. The vents series (here) points to a specific form and captures an honest sense of being. So I've been trying to chase the success of this work while also re-acquainting whilst re-evaluating my painting practice. Many highs and lows these past four months, nevermind how the instability of the world may be breathing onto the work, but here are some key works I did this semester.














I'm not sure if I'm any closer to answering these questions just yet but I do know that colour is a major element of my practice. Also, process, or a daily practice is also important to the work. So my search continues and I think it's probably a healthy place to be. It may be nerve-wracking and frustrating for my ego, but this development of my practice is long-game stuff. I may not be able to see how it's helping now, but in 10 years it might all make sense. I've been made aware of what's at stake here: my paintings could be easily dismissed as being vapid. And I think being dismissed (or indifferent) is worse than being rejected. 

Over the holiday break and until we get access to our studios again (Ottawa is going into lockdown again), I'm going to mix up and paints and also make drawings looking for single forms that I might be able to probe.

Monday, August 3, 2020

End of term reflections

We are coming to the end of our summer studio term which signals the halfway mark of my MFA degree. It's been a strange couple of months for obvious reasons, but it has been remarkably productive for me in terms of thinking about and repositioning my practice. Here's a statement I made in October of 2019 and I'm fascinated by some of the fundamental shifts of interest.

Monday, February 24, 2020

I heart NY

Here are some images from my recent trip to New York City. So much to do with so little time . . . I'll have to go back again.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Mondrian revisited

Several of the people I've had to my studio for visits have all suggested that I take another look at the grid paintings by Mondrian. I've been kind of put off by Mondrian for a couple of reasons: the rigidity, desire for purity and essentialism, autonomy of the picture, and the chauvinistic/sexist discourse around the work. I've also been blaze about his work cuz it seem tight, constrained, confined to the square. But each one of my visitors (profs, art historians, art theorist, and a curator) have all said, "Take another look. Don't worry about what history has done to it. Look at the surface. Look at it again."
And so I did. (below is the piece at the National Gallery of Canada)

Piet Mondrian, Composition No. 12 with Blue (1936-1942)

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Install tests

Now that I had a couple of pieces painted and ready, I booked out one of the installation rooms and started to play around with how I wanted them to interact with space and each other. It was a fruitful experience and I learned a lot about what works and what doesn't work for me. Here are some shots in progress


Monday, September 30, 2019

Yellow


My early explorations into the colour yellow based on my trip across the prairies led me to think about time, space, and discovery. How do I convey the constantly changing light in a way that isn't necessarily linear (because I am working from memory and not direct observation)? I like using sequential panels and used that as a starting point.
I wanted to explore the idea of movement through space as well so I started to set up the work in another room, just to see what happened. I was amazed at the effects combining the different surfaces created; how one plane meets the other. So I think the work is shifting towards being more about revealing, concealing, discovery, and, perhaps most of all, uncertainty.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Mixing experiment

Seeing as how I'm going through paint like a monkey's racehorse, I thought I'd explore the option of mixing my own pigments. This might save me some money and teach me more about the stuff that I love: oil paint. So I bought some Kama pigment and got to it.

DISCLAIMER: Always use eye, hand, and mouth protection when doing this sort of thing. The pigment gets everywhere and can be toxic depending on what you are using.