Connecting Abstraction to Representation
Seascapes and certain landscapes form an effective “realistic” complement to many of my abstract pieces. I refer to these pieces as “reinvented” landscapes and seascapes because they use unusual mixed media components. These works also fuse rendering of an image and collage of objects in a unique manner, reinventing how the landscape is depicted. Many of these landscapes and seascapes seem to coalesce from objects and media incorporated. The media selected for each type of landscape also reflects the properties of light and form inherent to the scene.
Reinventing Seascapes by manipulating light
For seascapes, the focus is on light manipulating media, including lenses and retroreflective spheres that actually bring focused light from the room into the painting. In most cases these light effects change with viewing angle and with ambient light, creating works that subtly move and interact with their environment. When viewers of these pieces react with statements like “they seem so alive” or “they seem so real” (even though most of my landscapes are still fairly abstracted), they are reacting to the play of the light manipulating elements in these works.In these seascapes, light manipulating media like mica, metal foil and glass lenses are used in tandem with specialized acrylic techniques. Unlike oils, acrylic paints can be used without pigment to create layers of transparent acrylic in a painting. Carefully tinting and incorporating controlled areas of paint creates tinted glass effects in the acrylic, marbles streamers of color running the rough glassy clear acrylic and other effects that use transparency. When combined with light manipulating elements, the transparency in these pieces becomes almost magical.
Abstract Experiment, Seascape Conclusion
The techniques in these Reinvented Landscapes and Seascapes are developed though parallel and sequential experiments in abstract painting. These experiments start as actual experiments, with controlled variations in media that are tried in different formats, recorded, observed and archived – often with specific tests and goals in mind. Sciencey/engineery experiments, where the words like “experiment” and “research” still mean something. (OK, rant over). I find that abstracts like Ebb and Flow, or Convection Diffusion provide a better mechanism for experiment, because the experiments can be fairly pure. Depiction is taken out of the equation, allowing me to focus on the behaviors of paint and media without having to define flowers, trees, or waves (for example). However I have also always held that the true test of any idea drawn from experimental results is flexible application. This is true for something like quantum mechanics, true for Molecular Biology, and also true for weird ideas about painting. These Reinvented Landscapes and seascapes are my own approach to creating that flexible application of my weird painting experiments – to prove that they work, pin down their scope of application, and understand their strengths and limitations.
Print on Demand Prints
Original Mixed Media paintings