Statement for 5th Year Fellows Show at Trinity College, Fall 2020
My pieces in this show represent an intersectional study of tangible phenomena, such as the character and movement of light and air captured in the context of the fluid patterns of billowing smoke and fire, and conceptual notions surrounding the evocation of a haunting and ethereal mood from scenes devoid of concrete and recognizably representational subject matter. The works approach these themes from multiple directions, with variations in medium, scale, and degree of abstraction. Some of these pieces are traditionally applied oil paint on canvas, while others are more experimental, with Sumi Ink poured and manipulated onto sheets of double frosted Mylar. These ink on plastic works exemplify the intersection of concept and process discussed above, as both across the breadth of work and in considering individual pieces a viewer may draw entirely disparate conclusions in reading and interpreting the scale and identity of potential sources of the imagery from another viewer, while sharing with them an experience of feeling and mood from the work. In their ambiguity these works in ink mirror somewhat ironically a Rorschach inkblot test, allowing – if not forcing – a viewer to apply their own expectations and assumptions about the representational content of the work, especially when considered as a whole, to trying to decipher it.
While these ink on plastic works may be satisfactorily cohesive in conceptual depth and aesthetic appeal, I believe they are best displayed alongside and among the thematically related oil paintings. These paintings trade the starkness of ink – contrasted black on white – for the added allowances provided by working in color, while conversely trading the ethereality of Mylar’s semi-translucency for the concreteness of primed and stretched canvas. These pieces share the same relevant traits as the ink works, with some portraying atmospheric phenomena at the macro scale and others the micro, while nearly all do so in a way that belies any irrefutable proof towards either direction.