For the past few years I’ve been doing pencil drawings on paper. I’ve been exploring different forms of mark making using images that look abstract but are actually realistic renderings of selected details of the environment around us. Often putting new problems to myself, I decided to veer away from this method of working and pursue something totally different while still holding the abstract focus of my work.
My current work creates the illusion of depth within the surface of the two dimensional plane. I use multiple layers of color, shape, mark making and appropriated images in order to draw the viewer’s eye through the various stratum that are layered up in these pieces. The first layer of a piece is usually a monochrome depiction of a female figure appropriated from the cover of a detective pulp novel from the 1940’s. I chose to use these types of images because they have become a cultural convention without being an immediately recognizable likeness. Yet the figures are barely discernable when the work is completed. I overlap this layer with a carefully constructed abstract drawing. Next I add color to the surface while letting some of the white of the paper show through creating an additional layer of depth. Sometimes I enhance the previous layers and at other times I try to obliterate the previous layers.
When looking at one of my pieces one probably first notices color. Then a viewer might detect the abstract drawing that is comingled with the white patterns of the raw paper. As one’s vision is drawn between the two layers of pattern one might notice an eye or a hand or the curl of a woman’s lip that is part of the appropriated figure that is peeking out through the patterns. The viewer has to look through the layers to perceive the others. The paintings almost create a three dimensional effect. As the visual information is digested I would hope that the piece is stimulating enough for the viewer to attempt to seek out more details so the interaction between art and viewer becomes a sort of feedback loop of information and awareness. This experience might alert a viewer to a different way of looking at their world. I do not attempt to make any social commentary or cultural critique with my work. My hope is that I might create an unfamiliar space for my viewers to exist in for just a few moments, in an effort to expand, in some small manner, their way of thinking.