Tuesday, May 4, 2010
First, I have a small show coming up at the local Gallery 24 in July, so I have to get pieces ready for it. Exploration must come second. I have about six paintings close to being finished, and another four that I could wrap up by then.
But, I also have ordered in (no art supply stores around here!) a modest stock of 2"-cradle Gessobord, all with multiples of 6" per side (6x6, 6x12, 12x12, etc.) so that they can be assembled together in various ways. By working with small pieces, I can focus on small chunks of abstraction, but each with a focus. And I can play with cold wax and all the tools that I have gathered over the years to create texture, in small bits without commitment to a huge canvas.
If things go well, I may be able to assemble up to six montages of these small pieces in time for the show in July. This gives me a goal and some limits, while at the same time allowing freedom to explore.
Another aspect of this montage approach is that it addresses the vastness of this country that I am trying to portray. Limiting the scope of a 50-mile vista to a 30"x32" canvas does not carry the impact I seek. Intimacy is required, as, for example, when we look at a specific angle of light on a specific ledge of cliff, rather than the whole cliff expanse stretching for miles in either direction. (At least, this is my hypothesis.) Creating small snapshots of "cliffness", abstract vignettes of sagebrush plains, color-fields of skies, and then assembling them according to how they fit together as an artistic form (back to Diebenkorn and the importance to him of the actual surface being created), might evolve into the effect that I want. The image above, for example, is my first attempt (6"x6") at abstract "rockness" -- with reference to a real piece of sandstone lying on my table.