“Your mind is a magnet. You don’t attract what you need or what you want; you attract who you are. And I love who I am!” ―Carlos Santana
An Artist is a nexus of society, you can take the Artist’s work out of their time and place and find relevance, but you can not remove the Artist from their time and place and get the same work. This is to say that everything that surrounds an artist, the books they read, the mainstream and the minor stream information which flows through their mind, all goes into the creation of their work. Artists are truthtellers, story makers, and mirrors through which we can view our subjective reality.
What then is the purpose of an artist who works in abstracts? Are they not shirking some duty to tell the truth of the world by abandoning figurative or representational work? This is a question along the lines of why do mathematicians work on problems that have no foreseeable practical application? The answer for both is to discover processes. Some processes which are explored in this manner yields new methods for achieving previous results, and some of these new processes yield startling new results.
How does this apply to my work? Over time, my journey has been to move from using figuration to capture scenes and ensembles viewed in front of me to displaying the inner landscape of my mental and emotional processes. The search for inner peace is reflected on a daily basis as processes of abstraction through the use of color. This is not the symbolic language of “red equates to passion and violet equates to serenity”. The colors themselves are but vehicles and devices.
The deliberate action of making a mark is thought guided. The mind decides to cause the neurological signals to travel throughout the body, signaling the arm and hand to work in concert to produce a line which can easily be graphed by basic Algebraic functions. Seeking a deeper level of inner peace requires setting aside some of these deliberate thought patterns, sinking into the primal levels of mind activity. The rules of creation are exactly that, rules or guides, like a trellis upon which rosebushes are trained to grow. Artistic and creative processes are like these rules. A set of disciplined choices made before the creation of the piece.
It is all process
When approaching a blank canvas, the Artist selects the result before beginning. Sometimes the result is a colorfield, a splatter pattern, geometric shapes which invoke ancient mandalas or a representation of a model, landscape/cityscape, etc. Then the mind begins to make decisions invoking motion and energy to move line and color into place to achieve this result. My aim is not so much to duplicate a mental image onto the surface but to discover the results of following a set of decisions. The hope is always to produce something which is interesting and exciting and reflective of my shape as a human within the context of my time and place. Experimenting with process, abandoning brushes or tape or traditional tools of media control allows for the chaos of material interactions in the physical/plastic sense of the world to act under the basic rules of our plane of existence.
All of this is to say, that process is paramount in the creation of new artifacts. There is process for changing processes and discovering new processes, this is recursive, analytical and ongoing as a function of life itself. Thus my work is reflective of mathematical processes which exist beneath the surface of our reality. Even the most abstracted results which seek to avoid algebraic description.