Tuesday, June 11, 2013

more assemblies

During the week in Helper last month, my friend Phyllis worked on paper rather than board, to avoid the need to carry heavy and awkward supports on the plane from Oakland. She cut the paper into 12" squares, then taped them together, overlapping, into a 30" square, and painted them as a single piece. The interplay between the whole and its parts was charming, and the finished pieces are lovely.

Inspired by her adventure, and wanting to paint something big without a huge investment in a single support, I am trying an experiment. I have nine (as it happens) 12" x'12" uncradled  panels that I have carried to various cold wax workshops over the years, in order to have inexpensive surfaces on which to play without committing to a "real" painting. None are finished pieces, and most only carry two or three layers of paint. But I like all of them, for one reason or another, and can't bring myself to throw them away. Nor, it seems, can I bring myself to paint over them individually. They have been languishing in my studio, moving from one dusty corner to another, each carrying fond memories. So there is an emotional investment in them as well, come to think of it. No wonder I don't want to toss them.

After I left Phyllis at the Salt Lake airport for her flight home, and before heading home myself, I stopped at an art store and purchased a large piece of lightweight foam-core board. Over this past week, I fashioned it into a 36"-square, and glued the nine tiles onto it. The result is shown above. Unfortunately, the foam-core board is not strong enough to be completely rigid, so the assemblage feels a little wobbly, but a second piece of foam-core glued onto the back should cure the problem. I have to wait for a trip to a big city to purchase that, and I don't want to work on the whole until I have reinforced it, so nothing is happening with it right away. But I think that the wait is a good thing: For the moment, I am so captivated by the piece as it stands that I am loathe to paint over it. By the time I get it ready, though, I will be happy to cover up and unify the conglomerate of ideas and impulses. And I look forward to working with the built-in grid lines, to push and pull against them, to counteract their straightness, to play with the compositional fact of their existence.

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