Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Dark Passage

(Click on the image to enlarge)

A canvas that I started working way back in 2001, this did not really begin to develop until last year, when I drove toward a strong classical illusion of light and dark, but only in service of mood. This image is wholly invented, and is to me a logical extension of abstract expressionist techniques. I simply kept driving until a landscape slowly emerge, populated with Arshile Gorky-like figurative lines stuffed back into specific allocations of space. The color and light in the impossible sky (no moonlight and sunrise would work like this) is verging dangerously on the surreal, but I'm not exploring a subconscious dream-image world, or front-loading an image with a sense of the internal purity of the subconscious.

I hope that the mood emerges naturally; if there is any specific referent (and this is a recurrent theme) it is that in the midst of the contemplation of emptiness, it is impossible not to want to see people, but our experience of this, while emotionally strong, is visually fleeting, always in motion, always just beyond grasp.

Are the swirling lines and forms sinking into and out of the dark gendered? Yes - you can think of a Picasso line, it's weight turning and twisting and surprisingly sexualized even while dissociated from body-but this is one way somewhat incidental to the work of the painting. Virtually all the work was the invention of the space, light and landscape. But I do think that the implication of imagined figures and imagined place is balanced on viewing the piece.