Saturday, September 7, 2013

making a commitment

Here is the proposal for my residency project that I finally submitted today. Better late than never! At left is a photo of Farrera, the town in which the Centre d'Art i Natura (CAN) resides.

The project that I plan to pursue during my residency at CAN is an introspective one, and I don’t know where it will lead. It has been difficult for me to define.

My desire is to develop the meaning that lies beneath the surface of my multi-layered abstract paintings. A scholar described Richard Diebenkorn’s work as having a “tension beneath the calm”, which comes close to what I mean. I want to explore the interior, subjective world from which I can create unique and personally meaningful work. The Abstract Expressionists used non-representational, painterly means to express individual spiritual and emotional themes. I want to explore for myself the “expressionist” side of that aesthetic.

I don’t really know what this means in concrete terms, except that until now, my work has consisted of interpretations of the external world around me. Clearly, these interpretations have my personal stamp on them, but they are created from an outward orientation and could be seen as merely artistic attempts to portray the beauty of the world around us .

I want to use the time at CAN to turn inward and paint from my own internal geography. I don’t know how I will do that, nor where it will lead me, but I do know that I need the extended period of solitude and focus that the residency will provide.

My rough plan is to begin by working both figuratively (drawing) and abstractly, and to focus on expressing mood and memory through those processes. This was the idea behind the theme of “raĆ­ces y tempestades” that I originally submitted. I want to explore questions such as: How does mood affect my choice of subject matter? And how can I portray that mood – through what medium, composition, palette? How do I react to specific subject matter, and how can I portray the reaction rather than the subject?

I need to allow mood and memory to play an explicit role in what I do. In the past, I have treated my work as more of an academic and intellectual exercise than an exercise in self-expression. I want to experience portraying a subject such that it reflects my own internal vocabulary rather than someone else’s.

Until now, I have referred to the external world and to other artists’ work as I developed my skills and visual vocabulary. I want to use the residency to refer not to external sources but to my own internal patterns, and to begin a new phase of work rooted in more personal terms.

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