LIQUID LIGHT

I am working within the general frame of reference that the practice of painting, as an art form, is in the midst of a significant change. Painters are moving away from storytelling in the composition of the picture-form and moving towards the structural identity of the painting’s own painted-form. We are in a transition out of pictorial representation and into concrete actualization. The primary focus of this transition is towards the recognition of the unalienable condition of the painting’s own being, and this is a fundamental paradigm shift in how we understand the art of painting.

For the past one hundred years painters have worked through ideas of abstraction to find some internal dynamic of its own practice. We have struggles with issues of application, boundaries, scale, color and presentation. The second half of the 20th century saw the establishment of drawing as an independent art form. In this the paint material is used as a marking substance, and color is secondary to the specific performance of the gesture. The focus of its attention is on the specific performance of the mark and the information of production. What is now beginning to emerge, in the 21st century, is an understanding of painting per se - it is, the recognition of the integrity of its own materials and the autonomy of those materials to act upon us. This painted-form addresses the structural nature of its being.

It is a rather simple logic that the reason we stretch up a canvas to put on a wall is not for the delimitation of its flatness. We prepare the surface, as all practitioners of the art know, to-be-painted. And the function of the paint itself is to carry pigment. And pigment divides light. So, in one form or another, all paintings are fundamentally membranes of divided light.

We recognize light only by the division of its wavelengths and in that regard I am working within the idea that we distinguish four primary color groupings within the light spectrum because they are archetypes.  Within the thousands of color variations the eye can see, we identify four colors that do not resemble each other.  We index them as green, yellow, red and blue; and like earth, air, fire and water, they occupy some primordial identity with the human condition.  As archetypes, however, these colors do not have meaning in and of themselves and only acquire meaning in the context of how they are used - as archetypes they have value.  So, if you paint green in the same manner you paint red, it may indicate that you are drawing with paint rather than presenting the color.  It is the painted quality of the color that determines the practice of painting per se, and in the architecture of actualized painting function follows light.

What we are beginning to realize is that when we have achieved the full realization of an actualized painting, when we have stripped away all the worldly decor of the day, and come to look upon the unadorned flesh of its body - just paint on canvas - what we see emanating from its body is dematerialized light.  The material reveals the immaterial, and the great paradox of our modernity is our expectation that it should be something other than what it is.