Studio shot, taken this week. Series is as yet untitled
I don't usually show unfinished work, and certainly not crowded onto one wall and shot with my iPhone. But after a summer series that featured the work of many other artists here on the blog, I wanted to give myself some equal time. Plus I'm really digging what I have done . . . and I want to post it now.
Summer is my time to work on paper. It's a personal tradition I look forward to. The studio is cool. I feel about as relaxed as I'll feel all year, so what comes out is what has been percolating. I knew I wanted to continue my work with the diamond. I did the Soie series in a previous summer, culminating in a solo at the Marcia Wood Gallery in April 2011, and since then I've worked on Diamond Life paintings for group shows.
Left: 2011 Diamond Life solo at Marcia Wood Gallery, Atlanta; painting and framed works on paper
Right: Lush Geometry group show at DM Contemporary, New York City, this past May-June, with Diamond Life 18, 2012, encaustic on panel, 22 x 22 inches, below. It was a short conceptual leap from this . . .
. . . to this
As yet untitled, about #10 in a series of 24 on 300-lb. Fabriano hot press, 30 x 22 inches
So, back to paper. I love the feel and weight of 300-lb. hotpress, I love its creamy whiteness and the soft thunder it makes when it ripples as you move it. The 30-by-22-inch size is perfect, a nice change from the equilateral proportion, square or diamond, I normally work with. The challenge I set for myself was to work achromatically–none of that color that I slip into so comfortably–and to limit myself to graphite suspended in alcohol so that I could paint it on. Compositionally, I focused on one primary shape, the diamond, and a secondary shape the square, sometimes used as a grid.
As yet untitled, #1 in the series
As yet untitled, somewhere about #8 in the series. Notice how a square slipped into the composition? Sometimes, you know, you just have to give the picture what it wants
I set the diamond into an indeterminate space. I wanted it to spin, advance, recede, hover, spit, kick, explode or float without denying my formalist, minimalist impulse to be clean, centered, reductive. I got into the yin and yang of it. As for the grid, it defined the picture plane, pushing the diamond visually off the page; other times it sucked everything in.
As the work progressed I decided to introduce one more material element into the work: iridescent pearl, a micaceous pigment in a stick of oil and wax. Over graphite it is reads as silver when the light hits it just right, otherwise gray. In addition to painting, I also got more physical, rubbing the graphite or pigment stick into the paper by hand, sometimes sgrafitto-ing the surface to achieve a weave pattern.
Above and below: as yet untitled
Toward the end of the series I used more pearlescent pigment. I love the surprise of it. From head on, it's gray, but from the side, there's a silvery refraction. See what I mean? A small elongated diamond diamond worked its way into the series toward the end, too.
A new series beckons, inspired by the bottom-row-middle work you see in the opening picture. It's the diamond set into a square. Actually, I'm thinking print. I'd love to be invited to do such a series (hint, hint). Wherever it goes, you'll see it here eventually. Thanks for looking.