A New Direction – Recycling for Beauty and Freedom
I’m a natural recycler, liking to rework things, perhaps even to become beautiful. Recently I pulled some discarded, student era canvases out of the racks and pinned them together to create one large polyptych.
As I love working large scale with big gestures, this has been a sensational experience. Using a 5 gallon bucket of inexpensive light neutral house paint from the “mistakes” shelf at the hardware store and a roller to apply it across all those wildly varying images, the failed paintings disappear except for a few interesting areas, then become something else.
I randomly record with a time-lapse camera to watch the process – and to amuse myself. Here’s a clip from beginning the first painting, set to Beethoven’s Piano Sonata #2:
As soon as I completed the first one, I began another:
Using up these older materials is freeing, and thrilling. Experiencing utter freedom in process is the very most hallowed place from which to work, allowing for exploration, which is enormously important to keep growing as a painter. Fresh new eyes are at work, rather than well worn patterns of success. This is when new directions open up, and series are born. Everything that wants to show up, can show up in this free, uncensored zone.
My current fascination with the Russian born philosopher and artist John Graham is reflected on this canvas and it’s title. Graham wrote a brilliant manifesto on abstract art titled System and Dialectics of Art, which seems to express many things about painting which I feel deeply, but never had words to express. Below is Graham’s Systems and Dialectics 7’x22′ – the whole made up of it’s individual recycled canvases: