Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Term-long Project Proposal

The independent project that I would like to propose for the term for my drawing class is a continuation of what I've been working on in my painting practice: large portraits dealing with the issues of recognition and abstraction. For this project, I would like to shift the emphasis to the theme of memory and the subjects being people from my past, real, imagined, and fictional. The title of the work will be "People I Miss." What I'm envisioning is a landscape of collaged faces that create a kind of all-over field, with some elements being obscured and some in sharp detail. I plan to keep the image monochromatic with hints or accents of colour. I want the piece to evoke a sense of a timeline, like a lifetime flashing before your eyes, but all at once. The image will need to be large scale to do the subject justice, I think.

Influences are Jenny Saville and Cecily Brown. Jenny Saville's drawings use layering in a way that gives them a sense of time passing whilst in their making. Cecily Brown's paintings have an all-over quality reminiscent of de Kooning, but has within them fragments of recognizable figures.

I was reminded of a few previous attempts to do something similar.
I recall being really into Brice Marden at the time. I had fun with this piece because it was very much about the process: make a layer of faces then destroy it, add another layer that plays off the leftovers of the first layer etc. I'm not sure about the big marks or the cartoon/mask like rendering of the faces, but I like the monochromatic scheme. This isn't really too far off from what I've been doing lately. Funny how no matter how much you think you've changed, you're always basically making the same thing over and over again.

Here's one I made while I was taking a painting class with Thomas Chisholm. This one was a commentary on the screen of a computer or television. Early influence of selfies and instagram with a dash of Gerhard Richter. This one I think is interesting because the shifts in scale, but I don't think the colour is working. I like how it all gets evened off by the squigee marks though. Efren Quiroz bought this one a few years back.

I'm starting to think I should make it solely about my mother. I don't want it to be "bad therapy" though so how can I make a sophisticated image about a loved one that I have lost? Death is a prevalent theme throughout art history . . . what's my take on death? My general feeling about death is that it is as natural as living. That's probably just my way of making myself feeling better about my (and everyone I love's) impending doom. But I have no other way of justifying or explaining the concept of death. A person just stops being. Their body stops working. Their mind evaporates. Their voice is silenced. Thoughts and ideas also vanish. They can never look at you again or you them. Or touch. Or be near. The only thing that is left is their memories and whatever physical things they've left behind; things that they have put their thought and effort into creating.

So what does that look like on paper?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Because it is the New Year and I'm feeling nostalgic, I thought I'd post some paintings from the past 7.5 years that I've lived in Victoria. All of these were painted in my apartment or at the uvic painting studios. It's interesting to see the progress, the occasional dead end, and occasional personal victory. Can you guess at the chronology?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


I'm an artist who is interested in what we look like. But I don't just want to show the surface, the camera can do that. I want to show what it feels like to be us. What it feels like to see us. The proliferation of images has led to a kind of homogenization of what we look like. I hope that through painting an image of a person, I can go beyond the surface and create an image of us that is genuinely of today.