Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ways of Working.

This morning I gently heightened the colour of a plum in a delicate still life painting using a soft brush with a touch of pure cadmium red, then an hour later smothered part of a large format canvas in an oily black viscus!

What does your art practice consist of? What is your process? How would you define your practice? How important are definitions and definitives? These are questions I force myself to answer at times. Or questions I feel I should want answers to, as I tell myself an academic discourse demands it!

I know when I listen to a group of musicians and enjoy their sound it can be off putting or disappointing when they dramatically change their style. Perhaps humans always seek the familiar?
In a conversation with artist Katie St. Claire, she pointed out that humans have this ancient inbuilt recognition pattern identifier and build up 'a story' or 'picture' through repetition.

On the other hand when a group or artist changes their style and it's successful for us it becomes a revelation. They take us along with them on an important evolutionary journey. The band Radiohead for example have continued to evolve and change over the course of their long career but we still recognize them as unmistakably 'Radiohead'. A painting by Gerhard Richter is still a Richter whether it's a photorealistic piece or a pure abstraction. So, what is it in the work that becomes that identifier? A certain quality? Is the artist even conscious of that innate sensibility?

My interests in music, film and the visual arts span a gigantic field. Knowing what I like and don't like - what I understand and what doesn't appeal to me. I've always enjoyed engaging in multi disciplines and different aspects of the arts practice but I'm most defiantly committed to painting.
A chat in my studio with the Dean of Academics at the Burren College of Art, Conor Mc Grady illustrated one thing that has been a constant in my practice. That is an 'Engagement - Reflection' ethos or pattern as apposed to the 'Thinking - Executing' process which would be more akin to the way most illustrators might work.

Finally, posing these questions of style and evolution to a young painter from Michigan today - Marc Ferraro, I confided that at times I pine for sure direction - the known, the familiar! He quickly displaced my concerns as only a young fresh and agile mind can by saying 'I'm more engaged with painters that change and develop through different processes and ways of working. Painters that repeat things bore me'!

As Deepak Chopra said, 'What is the known? The known is just the conditioned past, there is no evolution in that, absolutely no evolution whatsoever'.

Marc Ferraro's studio space at the Burren College of Art undergrad study abroad programme.
In this body of work Marc has been using free association and instinct to generate imagery for these painterly works.

A sequential series of images of me putting down some initial gestural strokes and marks onto a large format canvas. Trusting 'accident' and 'chance' as well as my physical movement to bring about something new and undiscovered.

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