Everything in this show begins with ink, raw, unforgiving, seductive, glorious black ink. This is the first, most obvious connection to the title of the exhibition. One of the great joys of ink drawing is trying to make use of inevitable accidents. Ink’s assault against control is incessant. What is left of a picture when ink decides to go its own way? I just follow the ink and try to keep a picture alive as long as I can. That’s all I know for sure.
I invite you to zoom in, to put your nose right up to any one of my pictures. Spend one minute, sixty seconds focused on the marks. This is where I live. In my best drawings, every mark is a character. Every stroke is evocative. Each landscape setting, still life arrangement, and portrait situation is a springboard to a more abstract response. If any of these pictures strike you as strictly representational I encourage you to get a little closer…closer…to see the drawings within the drawings. A group of inky strokes may bring to mind charming vignettes of humanity or brief plotless tales of nature’s wonder. With your mind’s eye rapt by a small ensemble of marks, the rest of the image may stretch away, far away, like a vast wilderness. In my very best drawings, the marks break apart into abstraction, reassemble into a landscape, and break apart again and again. This is what has made picture making live for me.
“Just for a second there, I thought I saw something move.”
Things Have Changed, Bob Dylan
There is “AN INKLING” of something new in this show. Three or four years ago I hatched a plan to create art, enter shows, frame one piece at a time, and collect framed pieces for a solo exhibition. The planned work beautifully. This is not that show. This is mostly a new group of work, and something is creeping in. Beyond the mark making, there may be hints of narrative in the work. A deer, a duck, a crabby goose, are inklings. There are a couple of scapes in this show that seems to beg for a hero, a St. George (and the Dragon), a Maccabee or two.
There is another inkling. The work becoming more abstract. I am becoming more willing to turn images around, cut them apart, mix them, and match them to see what kind of new image might reveal itself. In a few of the images, the inspiration for the background and the method are completely different from other layers of the image. As an example, one image began as a loose, color oil painting of a friend’s “compost of the day” post on Instagram. The second layer is a black and white monoprint of foliage combined with sampled architecture drawn with pastel. By “sampled”, I mean stolen. Eventually, the picture became a kind of gnarly suburban landscape, with human-made forms commingling with natural forms.
The outcome of this process gets me thinking that an artist may seriously aim at creating synesthetic events, where visual cues may trigger other senses. A visual may conjure a very real scent of mildew, or the feel of humidity, or the taste of a mushroom. Google it. Another inkling is of pictures may filling in where knowledge is lacking or has been stashed in the subconscious. Picture making can conjure history where history has been lost.
I hope this show inspires a good and lasting memory for you.
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