Occupation | [A-]vocation
Swerving into the channel of Phase 3 of 4D VyNIL, I produced a number of transitional paintings, before finding a sweet spot for the new work. The latest paintings exhibit many novel applications of Dimensionist technique, some of which I have been refining for close to three decades. The re-appearance of techniques I deployed early in my artist evolution generated some surprise on my part. In my first years of dedicated studio training and practice, at Notre Dame, and later in New Mexico (at the Upper Canyon Studios, then Gypsy Alley studio, then in the Pecos studio I built around 1990), I struggled to integrate 2D and 3D methods into the approach that on intuitive, nominal levels I recognized to be 4D. By trial and error, I sought to improve the precision of brushwork. I tried to understand the fundamentals of representation, but was routinely disappointed by the results I achieved. At the time, I did not yet comprehend that my optical handicap would always prevent me from perceiving proper 3D. Almost from the outset, I developed workarounds for my failings. I adopted a catalog of stylization for expression, drawing first from available resources, such as illustrations and comics, and later from art historical documentation. The photograph became a vital facet of my artistic process. I rooted through thousands of images and archives for inspiration. I poured through piles of coffee table books. I took courses at University. I visited major and minor galleries and museums. I discussed my findings with artists and academics, administrators and dealers. Inexplicably, I soon possessed potent opinions about art, and particularly, my own 4D art, relative to art writ large. In fact I could be fanatical, headstrong, stubborn and worse in the aesthetic arena. I admit the positions I took could be off-putting. I realized later that many of my contentions were incorrect. Nonetheless, I am deeply grateful for the passion that drove me to devote my life to art.
In the Currents, Flow + Reproduction Series, I am finally able to install those youthful technical innovations into appropriate pictorial structures. Some examples include outlines and striping, directional signals created with patterns, formal gradations for propagating dimensional illusion (gravity, shadow, spatial depth) and so on. The vinyl paint is wonderful in its capacity to accentuate these particular techniques. The combined matte finish, unusual color chemistry, the pigment’s variable texture - actually due to inconsistencies jar-to-jar of the medium and mix - help push-pull effects, flatten the pictorial surface, diminish a worldly reading of the impressions recorded in the surface. I am routinely selecting challenging substrates on which to test the vinyl paint. After a few layers, I am responding to the variations in surface texture through combinations. The fundamentals - color, composition or placement, sequence - are deployed with little expectation of an obvious conclusion emerging. Happily, sometimes the solutions are relatively easy. Usually, crafty extensions and derivatives are necessary to obtain the completion that satisfies my protocol. Most of the paint applied to the latest CFR Series is done so with very small brushes. The edge integrity is key to success in modeling shapes that activate the movement within the rectangular borders of the painting. The formally tight design elements propel 4D movement that force the viewer to question the nature of the space into which he is peering.
The CFR Series suggests a continuum with all-over painting, and with the imaginary infinite plane and line. The complexity is vital for adapting impressionistic juxtapositions of hue. I use high-order mathematics as a reference, when explaining the procedures involved in placement of colors, overlapping of elements, the inference of codes in the constructs exhibited within the rectangular format. My 4D methodology is Free Style, like Muay Thai. I am not a Hegel adherent, starting with a concept that materializes as an object. I reject the Benjamin contention that all human expression is linguistic. The courtly admonishments of Taste are obsolete. My art is not propelled by religious connotations and orthodoxy or dogma. The natural world exists outside the image, and the art insists on its own nature, as a creation for and celebration of Nature, as such. The elimination of fatuous citations of artificial reality in its multitude of iterations does not separate the art in its immediacy from our shared experience. The art proposes a specific reality, one that draws from a vast virtual and actual library of content, contributed by a diverse constituency. The circle is an obvious example. The seed form, the leaf and others acknowledge the impulsivity of the eye in its role in interpretative operations. The cards I made for the Network Series identify and project an initial set of shapes for use in the 4D VyNIL paintings. The type and use of such sets is infinite, limited only by the resourcefulness of artists who choose to play or operate in a 4D framework. If the paintings themselves are more often than not complex, the proposition they put forth is not. The body of work maps an invitation to any and all to engage in the documented, mapped assignment.
I do not believe that the procedure outlined can be described as my invention, or any one artist’s. I see the affinity of art and science, in this respect. I adhere to a program for art that welcomes the advancement of the discipline. When I first took up painting at university with the serious intent of a person accepting a vocation, I experimented with many materials. The first brand of paints I adapted to my vision for painting was Liquitex (acrylics). Since then, I have tried many lines of commercial pigment, and have even used my own recipes, from time to time. In the CFR Series I can trace the new color-sense to the one I brought to the studio as a beginner. The continuity provides a modicum of confidence, stability and mystery, because the continuum situates painting in the contemporary. I don’t hear many artists and critics, much less academics, dealers or collectors, addressing the emergent time-based features of Dimensionist painting, despite the proliferation of excellent examples. To admit my frustration would be a concession to the mediocrity that consumes status quo art marketing, absent the principled establishment of mutually beneficial criteria for quality in art. The current conversation is not nearly as rewarding as the act of making qualified art, to be its own sustaining argument. A student of art writing will eventually notice that informed and informative critics are not common.