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Tilting Back The Light

Tilting Back The Light • Acrylic on Canvas • 72″x84″ • 2012

In preparation
is the setting forth
the leaving behind

the teacher
the teaching
the explanations
the expectations
the preconceptions

the narrow field of my vision

No longer are memories
words or images
to mean what they used to mean

If I think I know what I will find
I will find nothing
If I expect nothing
I will always be surprised

This is the painter’s path of liberation


Abstract Art

My philosophy of painting – “the Painter’s Path” – is about process rather than product (i.e. painting as a “finished object”). Process painting directs one’s unplanned actions totally toward the flow of the work leaving the painter in a state of “unknowing” and surprise. Process painting is spontaneous and grown rather than constructed. Its resolution is an undeniable Presence which confronts us waiting and enduring, self-existing and self-sufficient. However, one has to be willing to shipwreck the work, to explode it, in order for the work to become what it is, to reveal nothing outside itself.

What I look for in this “no-method method” process: contradictions in composition where there are multiple spaces each with its own focal point and perspective, paradoxes in brushwork close to Daoist and Zen actions that seem in opposition as loaded gestural sweeps approach finely polished areas, a variety of strong contrasts of darks and lights, simple and complex shapes, paintings within paintings.

As a contemporary abstract painter I work with forms in space. The kind of forms and their placement creates the tension and energy between them, holding together the structural balance of the visual surface. Color flattens, gives the illusion of depth, dissolves, or unifies. These elements – space, form, pattern, atmosphere, color and brushwork, the carefully rendered and the explosive – are pulled from the outer limits of the canvas or paper into a nucleus, forever floating and interacting. Whether using acrylics or charcoal, charcoal combined with ink, chalk, or other mediums the subject is the paint or charcoal itself.

My paintings are abstract visions of imaginary places. In highly structured compositions and loose and sumptuous paint, they veer from the monumental to the microscopic, conjure soaring mountains or placid pools of water. But these paintings “are less about a real place than they are about our ideas of nature, the way the landscape looks inside our heads, long after we’ve left it behind and returned to the city”. The hand is evident throughout the canvas: in the scraped surface revealing what lies underneath, in the horizontal drips of wet paint, and in the pooling of color on the surface. It is in the fragmented asymmetry and in the quickening of the calligraphic brush that the scene is endowed with an “Asian sense of the sacred.”

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