Friday, April 19, 2013

Thoughts on New 'Hybrid' Panels

Hybrid Panel 2 - Maple Leaves  10" x 8" paper and acrylic on panel
Hybrid Panel 3 - Maple Flowers 10" x 8" paper and acrylic on panel
Hybrid Panel 4 - Ivy 10" x 12" paper and acrylic on panel
Drawing 11 - Spruce Twig 8" x 10" Graphite on Stonehenge Paper 

The other day I jotted down a few notes about the 'hybrid' pieces I have been working on; that is, paper and poured paint on wood panels.There are many dualities or contradictions inherent in this work:

My subject is inspired by elements of the natural environment, but my materials are created through highly industrial processes.

Acrylic paints are derived from petroleum. They function by creating polymers and plastic-like films which adhere to surfaces. The wood panels are made from trees, but they are laminated, cut, sanded and attached together in factories.

The cut-paper silhouettes were referenced from drawings based on digital photography. The painted panel backgrounds were more intuitively created to allude to visual memories associated with the subjects of the initial drawings.

Figure-ground relationships create the interest and tension in these works. Some areas of the wood panel have been cut away, exposing the wall behind the panel. 
The wall becomes another layer in the figure-ground relationship.

Silhouettes and drawings emphasize the structure and strength of the plant forms, while revealing delicacy in their details.

Sharp edges of cut paper contrast with amorphous areas of poured paint. My intention with the poured paint is to suggest shadow or mystery in layers of possible detritus, frost or snow.

I am influenced by Ellsworth Kelly's plant drawings and lithographs in my attempts to simplify shapes in nature. My detailed studies of natural objects seem to be a first step in the process of identifying their essentials. 

Entropy, as suggested by Robert Smithson's writings, comes into play in the most recent panel( #4). The surface of the wood seemed too polished and finished compared to the rough textures of the ivy leaves drawn in charcoal. Once I sanded the panel's surface, becoming the agent of entropy myself, the piece began to evoke more of the concept I was aiming for. I may sand it more, but I will leave the piece alone for a few days before deciding.

Drawing #11 and future drawings will be done in graphite. I used 2h-6B graphite pencils on Drawing #11. I am curious to see how the graphite will interact with the poured paint. The forms in this drawing may become silhouetted on a panel, or I may eventually cut the drawing. I have a 10' x 8" photo of it to experiment with.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Drawing/Painting/Collage, Hybrid

Panel 2 - Hybrid,  Paper and Acrylic on Panel  10" x 8" x 2"
Combining acrylic pours and brushed paint with cut paper on a panel is a winning combination for me! I'm onto a great project I can explore with a variety of permutations! It's a drawing and a painting and a collage!

I had a great weekend in Boston during my last visit, March 22-25, 2013. I arrived early in the morning, so I went to the Museum of Fine Arts for most of the day. I was interested in looking at the Japanese gallery and analyzing how the scrolls were put together. I'm not sure if I will make any myself, but I enjoy looking at Japanese arts. I also sketched one of Monet's haystack paintings to analyze the colors he used. It was fascinating to find that most of the painting is actually pink with blues, greys, violets and variations of orange and yellow deftly applied over it.

The next day was spent seeing the SOWA galleries and a few galleries on Newbury Street. I was excited and inspired by Catherine Kernan's huge woodblock prints and paintings at the Soprafina Gallery. There were other exhibitions I found interesting and I will write about them after I retrieve the postcards from my studio that I picked up in the galleries. My memory for names is not great!

On Sunday, Lindsey and I went to the Worcester Art Museum to see Jill Slosburg-Ackerman's show.
It was inspiring to see all the different ways of approaching a simple idea. All the pieces fit into a three-dimensional installation where the space in between drawings, carvings, sculptures and shelves was activated. Relationships between the parts shifted as the viewer  approached from different angles. There was more to discover every time the angle changed.

My meeting with Jill on Monday was very productive. We had a fruitful discussion and I left with many ideas for moving forward with my work. More on that in future posts!

Once I returned home, I came down with a nasty cold and then it was tax return time.
However, I managed to create a new panel project and work on three drawings to improve them.
I have begun on another hybrid panel project using the Maple Flowers drawing as a departure point.

Drawing 10 Wild Strawberries Charcoal and Graphite on Paper 10" x 8"
This drawing was a sketch before I developed the main forms with sharp pencils ranging from 2H to 6B. The rain drops on petals and leaves were intriguing. The composition could be more dynamic, however.
Drawing 4  Maple Flowers Charcoal and Graphite on Paper 10" x 8"
I defined the flowers with sharper lines to bring out the texture of the stamens.
Drawing 5 Fireweed  Charcoal and Graphte on Paper 10" x 8"
The stalk between the two blossoms has tiny buds growing on it. Again, sharp pencils helped to define it as a focal point.