Sunday, October 26, 2014

Re-purposing goes to the heart of it

                                             Cellphone Silo, Dawn (24x27, oil on canvas)    

        I recently took some of my older paintings that never really worked and leaned on them. With sandpaper. The intent was to eradicate the old images and paint something entirely new, yet I liked many aspects of the old paintings and regretted their loss.
      What happened next was a revelation.
      After sanding the paintings to get a smooth surface, but with vestiges of the old images remaining, I painted over them to create a new ground - with burnt umber, ultramarine blue, and/or orange. I let that dry and started gingerly sanding again, to even out the new surface, when old images forcefully emerged, transformed and in my opinion more powerful.
      This painting was reduced to its essential elements, but day's now night, and the horizontal lines suggest an unseen power, in this case of telecommunication, as well as the symbolic loss of a traditional farm building transformed into yet another instrument of the internet, with a forlorn beauty of its own.
         Cellphone Silo, Dawn doesn't show well on cell phones - the revenge of the Net - but is better experienced in person. It and others can be seen as part of the Rappahannock artists' show next weekend (Nov. 1), with headquarters at the firehouse in Little Washington but with most of the work of the artists on view in studios around the county. My work joins with other artists' in nearby Huntly, where directing signs will be set up on Hwy 522.

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