Oblique Intention: new process, new work


My upcoming show, Oblique Intention, opens at Bryant Street Gallery in Palo Alto on September 1. The Opening Reception will be Friday, September 7 from 6 – 8 pm.

Radix 25, Mixed Media on Panel, 40×60

The paintings that will be shown in this exhibition represent a year’s departure from working exclusively in encaustic – encaustic monotype with thin layers of encaustic color in the surrounding area. For many reasons, I found it necessary to explore another media that would reflect what my work is about and the reason I paint. After all, my work has never entirely been about the encaustic surface, as beautiful as it is. I needed a change after 15 years of working with encaustic, so I started experimenting and exploring. There were many rough spots along the way, but that’s what I crave from the creation process.

Radix 21, Mixed Media on Panel, 40×40

This new body of work is a group of paintings composed of an encaustic monotype, sometimes a single fragment mounted on panel, and sometimes multiple fragments collaged and mounted together (see last Blog). In the surrounding areas, I’ve painted many thin layers of pigmented glazes, a process I learned in the 80’s from British artist, Hugh O’Donnell. He taught me how to apply paint the way he believed Rembrandt did. I love balancing this classical approach of handling paint with the resulting abstract imagery.

Radix 32, Mixed Media on Panel, 40×40

It takes an infinite amount of patience to, not only let each layer dry, but to see the subtle shifts of color when a new layer of glaze is applied. One can’t work quickly as in encaustic. – there’s a much slower tempo. Sometimes I sand in between applications of paint, sometimes I just add another layer. Some paintings have as many as 20-25 layers in order to create the quality of light and movement I need. There have been some nice surprises along the way such as a more highly defined surface versus the translucent and sometimes more distant surface of encaustic.

Radix 30, Mixed Media on Panel, 36×36

The title of the exhibition, Oblique Intention, comes from a combination of the meaning of oblique – not straightforward, more indirect or indirectly stated – and the word intention – a specific purpose, an aim, something to direct the mind towards. My work these days, always a reflection of my life and world, seems to move in those directions. My paintings have always had very subtle qualities that invite the willing viewer in for a closer look and opportunity to spend more time. This body of work is no exception. The contrast between the active and often colorful gestural work in the monotypes and the quiet color fields is a balance I strive for. A counterpoint also exists between the underlying grid/geometric format of the composition and the organic linear movement.

Radix 20, Mixed Media on Panel, 40×60