1. Cut and paste; trial and error
I take as a given that both my repository of images and the way I assemble my paintings are directly influenced by, and respond to a very contemporary visual culture of cut and paste prevalent today. However, unlike a lot of current painters, I neither project my samples nor plan the piece in advance. And unlike a lot of contemporary artists that mimic the flat screen and mediated aesthetic of the computer (and visual media in general,) this new work references the Modernist practice of finding the painting through the process of making it. Thus, in a sense, these paintings are diaristic rather than illustrative, exposing the trial and error involved in their production
2. The semiotics of colour
In the new paintings, colour moves from the highly synthetic and garish (often signified by the acrylic underpainting) to mixes more reminiscent of older practices such as Abstract Expressionism. The palette thus acts both as a signifier of certain historical conventions (Op, Pop, contemporary fashion) as well as complicating (or perhaps complementing) the more atmospheric wet-on-wet colour typical of Abstract Expressionism (and the prevalence of mixing colour on the canvas through the act of painting.) It is my hope that the collision of these painting tropes adds some complexity to the visual experience.
3. Hybrid painting
I think the work responds in many ways to a variety of contemporary ideas around hybridity in contemporary painting. The new paintings rest uneasily between the established conventions of abstraction and the postmodern critique of originality, autonomy, and aesthetics. Very generally, I have come to position my practice as such:
Modernist painterly abstraction
• diaristic • autonomous
• process driven
• colour is viewed both symbolically and retinally evocative and unfixed
Postmodern critique of Abstraction
• adherence to all gestures as conventions
• ironic relationship to innovation and novelty
• socially encoded
• accepts the painterly conventions as givens
• recognizes the embeddedness of visual culture and historical conventions in the work
• re-asserts the presence of the artist as a subjective source in the making of the piece
• dismisses conventional hierarchies between self and other, hi and low, derived and invented
• Re-asserts the diaristic as an imposition and complicating procedure in the flattened and pre-ordained postmodern discourse.
4. The creation and quotation of forms
I like to self-reference earlier work as much as possible (a very basic and somewhat subjective form of mediation,) so I purposefully use and re-quote from my own painting. I likewise look at visual culture such as wall paper, design books, sign painting manuals, child books and stickers. I am drawn to simple graphics and conventionally recognizable forms that make the collisions between the abstract work and contemporary culture more obvious to the viewer. I have often thought that the cumulative effect of this process is very much akin to how children construct drawings from an assortment of visual culture tools, such as stickers, down-loaded forms, colouring, etc.