The Painting Turquoise Spider Eggs utilizes vivid colors and expressionistic brush strokes to explore the autonomous creative impulse while also attempting to create a celebration of Nature and a heightened awareness of the need to preserve our habitat. The result feels dreamlike and somewhat ambiguous, as is our tendency to mystify global threats and blur the lines between society’s responsibility and our own.
For me, the process of making a painting starts with a manipulation of physical materials and quickly enters an arena of self-exploration. The activity becomes an encounter with all that I believe and hold dear, either because I deem it sacred, or it is part of my constructed security system.
The challenge with making a mark in a field of color is all the background noise that arises as soon as I pick up the brush and decide about the color. The mental decisions behind most brushstrokes also include the insecurities and the anxiety of all future marks. When I paint a subject, I am lulled into thinking the marks are somehow predetermined, but anyone who has approached an empty canvas with the certainty of an idea or preconceived image immediately recognizes that the creative impulse has a mind of its own. The artist can then be faced with an ‘art complex,” which Sabina Spielrein said is denied a personal element. The personal element is that part of our ego that paints for an audience and is concerned with the outcome more than succumbing to the process. If we give in to the complex it becomes an exercise in ego dissolution, but only if we let go of the outcome and focus on the mark making as a thing of itself. If the marks turn into something resembling a subject that may be a bonus. The important thing in this approach is to allow the outcome to direct itself. Experiencing the impetus of that directing force can be life changing. It often leads to a desire to search deeper into the mystery behind what is so adamantly seeking full expression.
In painting “Turquoise Spider Eggs” it was difficult to escape the subjective hand at the end of my brush and if there was any personal input, I tried to let it come from dream images or synchronicities that popped up while the work was underway. In this way the painting slowly revealed itself like solving a mystery one clue at a time. As Francis Bacon said, the final painting should deepen the mystery. Deepening the mystery is one explanation for why I continue to paint—I erroneously believe the next painting will fully illuminate the mystery. I am starting to suspect that I will come closer to the “Truth” in proportion to the number of marks I leave behind on my canvases. Perhaps painting for me is a process of slowly shedding parts of myself—the ones I no longer need.
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