Thursday, October 3, 2013

Abstract photographer, abstract painter

One of the earliest tasks we master as children is that of assigning names to the nameless: “What’s that?” the child asks, over and over, pointing to various familiar objects. We learn to identify and categorize – a useful trait, to be sure – but with time the identities and categories become all we know, and we lose track of the formless essence within.

As a photographer I find I often seek ways to step back to the time before we named things; to achieve some angle, or some distance, that makes a subject seem more abstract: if not unrecognizable, at least difficult to classify -- so that, even if only for a moment, we are forced to interact with it at some more basic level, taking in all it has to offer without the pre-defined expectations that so often keep us from fully perceiving an object in all its dimensions and possibility.

But as a painter, that process is reversed: instead of seeking to rediscover the formless essence of a form, I am attempting to bring the formless into form – without necessarily knowing what that might look like. Rather, I approach the paint, brushes, and canvas with an open heart and try to go where I feel led, to paint what seeks expression from within.

Whatever that is, it generally seems to become a representation – if not of form, at least of feeling: My experience of that has been that the shapes the paint takes are inevitably influenced by what’s going on in my life at the time -- and though I can see that, I can't always explain it. So I've decided to set up a new website that just features my paintings; no words. I've called it Mystical Abstractions, and you can find it here. (I've also added a link at the top of the blog).  I will still post paintings here from time to time, but if you want to watch without listening, Mystical Abstractions is the place to go. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Patricia Turner said...

I've always felt the pull of leaving my photographs unnamed. When you assign a name or a label to something you subtly effect how another responds to it.