Journalistic Abstraction

There’s a journalistic component to my abstract work, coming from the neighborhood of the subconscious.  If I try to cook up a visual idea of some event or place, the painting turns out to be a remote translation – stilted and awkward, lifeless.  If I am able to paint with a more open focus, working from a felt sense of color and mark in a conversant way, there’s a better chance of mining something more authentic, and the painting can carry something closer to the direct experience of my surroundings and recent history.  It’s an odd thing to try to describe from a process experience, but evident in the work itself.

Having recently returned from living on a quiet island off the Florida coast, some of the work that has emerged continues to reflect the memory of the seashore, the high winds and storms of January, the ocean and sky teeming with life.  There’s a sense of the experience of living and walking and swimming there, taking in the sea oats grasses, dunes, occasional turquoise waters and washed up lobster baskets.  Also the sea life shows up: tunneling hermit crabs, fish wriggling down a pelican’s long throat and being swallowed whole, starfish, clams, octopuses, blow fish, scallops, mullet, fish bones washing up on the shore.  A few painting details shown here:


Below, I’ve included a painting image from an earlier post along with a photo of the woods near the studio, to look at the the different imagery arising from experiencing the midwest in February:  north winds, silvery tree skeletons, golden sedge grasses and the hardy wildlife that survives the harsh winters.