Lingams 2013 – present
My recent interest in a form of Tantric painting inspired me to borrow the Lingam motif as a way to create a single body of work with an infinite number of possible variations. Its oval form, a Hindu symbol of fecundity, is a creative as well as a meditative vehicle. With a Western, secular eye to formalism however, its simple geometric shape is also both a mirror and a void, a reflection of the world and a window into the unknown.
In Hindu culture, Tantric paintings of the Lingam are also infinite in their variety of expression. Unlike Western art however, they are not created and signed by an “artist.” They are humble objects made anonymously, often on used paper, and tacked up on the walls of homes as a focus for meditation. My own works on paper of the Lingam assume a similar modesty. They are small and made daily as a way of starting my day.
26 Letters for the Deaf
A 1972 gouache on paper by Calder provided the visual springboard for this body of work, which includes 26 paintings paper, the same number as letters in the alphabet. Each painting is like a symbol or a sign, the shapes taken from my One Big Love series, and together they stand for a visual language that is autonomous and pre-lingual.
Duchamp’s The Blind Man and Beatrice Wood’s entry in Volume I, “To laugh is very serious,” provided further inspiration. I am taking my cue from a moment in art history when the conventions of representation was on the brink of collapse to create a visual alphabet that is serious in its playfulness, joyful in its seriousness and resolute in its lack of linguistic fixity.
Each painting is done in gouache on paper and measures 11” x 7 ½.”
The idea of rebuilding walls and foundations, as well as hope for the future, looms over all of us, not only the East Coast post Super storm Sandy, but over all of those effected by climate change.
Although initially inspired as a reaction to the years of housing construction projects surrounding my studio building, I came to think of the idea of building a wall that is mobile, adaptable, democratic and light weight as a way to also make a large scale work that is modular, and all over in terms of design and pattern, that can stand as a foundation for multiple variations.
Each brick shape is individually painted in acrylic on mylar in two layers. The first color is the foundation over which the second color is applied by dragging the paint across the surface, which sits on my paint encrusted work-table, thus live sex cam show creating the unique patterns on each “brick.”
The “bricks” are then cut out and collaged onto a 9’ x 42” hanging mylar sheet. The current state consists of five vertical sheets hung side by side and measures 17 ½’ wide.
This group of drawings is a direct outgrowth of my painting practice, where mounds of accumulated oil paint are created as a result of my daily palette cleanings. These mounds become objects in their own right, as well as documents of a physical process and a creative history. The drawings are a way of giving life back to something that seemed long dead.
I photograph the mounds in order to see them in isolation where they can then be manipulated digitally, placing a further level of mediation between reality and its final interpretation on paper. I then print the digital image and draw directly from the printed photograph. In this way I strive to create a perfect tension between the physicality of the object, the subjective image, which is not easily identifiable, and the readability of its metaphors.
The drawings can be read quite literally as mountains of color, their shapes redolent of Chinese landscape formations or scholar rocks. But they are also akin to heaps of detritus, like the mounds of used clothing commonly seen in the backs of second-hand clothing stores. Artistic precedents recall Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Venus of the Rags or morerecently Christian Boltanski’s giant installation, No Man’s Land, or even Felix Gonzales Torres’ mounds of candy. They may also be viewed as a steaming pile of toxic waste, calling to mind our culture of excess. Ultimately however, their ambiguity is the very thing which provides a visual experience that is visceral and open ended, rather than fixed and definitive.