Sunday, February 6, 2011

Eroding Foundations: Tableaus 1 through 4

Each of the paintings in this series is created on 11"x14" gessobord with a 2" cradle profile. I was looking for a way to combine my two favorite ways to paint: build up texture and embed items and the black stamping of tools to make marks. I wanted the black and white portion of the painting to appear in a square of 11"x11" with the foundation of mixed medium to be 3". And that's all I knew when I made the gessobord purchase.

Once I started thinking of the bottom 3" as a foundation and then considering the items to embed, the 'eroding' seemed inevitable, the wabi sabi effect. I've included stair step erosion in one because stair steps often are symbolic is some of my most intense dreams (hmm...wonder if there's something in that as to why I fractured my fibula when I missed a bottom step...I just now put that together). In another foundation, I embedded the underwire of an old bra--they call them foundation garments and those damned underwires somehow inevitably poke through and destroy the foundation. Also embedded are door hinges, another reference to my dreamtime; a bullet shell with primer, a reference to the evenings spent watching my father make bullets, melting the lead, measuring the gunpowder, etc.; and of course, many beloved circle items and spirals, those being symbols of life for me.

The mark making with items to stamp became beings in a narrative. Often, I wanted to create the illusion of three beings--just a more interesting narrative--but I do not really know their stories. Hence, the tableau. Just a scene. A part of a larger narrative, open to interpretation by all, viewer and participant. No one knows the truth. We filter what we see through our emotions and our own experiences, though the books we read, the music we hear, the movies we watch, other art we experience. None of us can really be the "fair witness" of Stranger in a Strange Land, can we? The truth erodes away and what is revealed? How slippery is our foundation, how stable?