Sunday, July 17, 2011

slight return...



when i first got out of grad school (1989) i was making purely intuitive abstract paintings, and was adamant about not allowing any pre-existing imagery or conceptual structure to enter the process and/or conversation. after about 3 years i hit a wall, and realized i needed to find a way to create more conflict for myself - there was no tension in my intuitive process, and hence, i was starting to feel a kind of helplessness... that i was setting myself up to make the same painting every time for the rest of my life.

in a fit of frustration, i grabbed a magazine, and tried to build an image using several small graphic design elements from the table of contents, and i became interested in the idea of taking something out of its existing context, and attempting to give it new life as an abstract form - so that it might speak in a voice less intended. it was an an attempt to open the image to a more interpretive response, and in a way, it was one of my beginnings...

a few days ago, i received the map pictured above in the mail, along with some old photos, and other ephemera. i purchased the lot because i wanted a photograph that was part of it, but as i went to recycle all of the things i did not care to add to the massive pile here, i noticed this graphic on the little map, and it grabbed hold of me, offering a feeling i had not thought about in a long while while.

as i was standing over the trash, deciding whether or not to toss the little map, i realized my immediate response to the image - specifically to its shape and color - was a strong one; and so, after throwing away the rest of the "junk", i walked back to my studio and pinned it on the wall.

i have no idea whether or not it will end up in a painting, but it was a good reminder that while one tends to always be focused on the process of growth and evolution, it's important to remember that the distance you have traveled from your beginnings is never quite long enough that you can't turn around and see where you've come from...

top: santa anita horse racing track map as found
bottom: santa anita horse racing track map with information erased

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Anonymous Brad said...

You can listen to Basinski's El Camino Real while you work with it.

5:06 AM  

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