Tag: maximalism

New Paintings: Early Winter 2016

January 18th, 2016 | No Comments

Throughout late November and all of December, I produced a trio of paintings that were inspired by the idea of the pixel, the archetypal building block of digital culture.

Through the pixel, I had rediscovered the magic of the simple square. Unlike curves, which had seemed so dated to me by comparison, pixels offered a more modern way to express line and color.

The three paintings are now in the Maximalism gallery of my site.

The first in this series was Find Your Way Out. This piece was the result of a creative exercise, in which I held a lottery of preselected graphical elements. In effect, I allowed randomness to determine combinations, which I had to “play” like dealt cards. When I feel a need for a creative spark — or “way out” toward something new — chance is always there to show me a way forward.

grant wiggins: new paintings early winter 2016
Find Your Way Out. Acrylic on canvas. 40 inches square (102 x 102 cm). November 2015.


Just Trying to Stay Positive was the next piece. In fact, it’s a remix of Find Your Way Out. Painted in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks of November, this work has a darker ground, punctuated by fluorescent flourishes that break through the clouds.

grant wiggins: new paintings early winter 2016
Just Trying to Stay Positive. Acrylic on canvas. 40 inches square (102 x 102 cm). December 2015.


Concluding this trio is As New As Now, painted throughout the final days of 2015. The piece’s colorway — fluorescent greens, fluorescent purples, navy, gray, and black — was one that I had wished to explore for quite some time. This painting was all about having fun. It was one last piece to close the calendar year. I was taking a flyer.

grant wiggins: new paintings early winter 2016
As New As Now. Acrylic on canvas. 40 inches square (102 x 102 cm). December 2015.


Throughout the process of making these three paintings, I learned something about myself. Standing before these paintings once they were completed, I enjoyed what I was seeing. But I also felt as if they were missing something. Pardon the pun, but I felt boxed in. Without curves, my paintings somehow lack my personality, or my imprint. There has to be a curve in there somewhere!

In the end, I think I explored the territory I set out to discover. My next paintings may go in a completely different direction. Time will tell. I’ll be sure to share my latest work in this space in the coming weeks.

— Grant Wiggins


Three Paintings Selected for Arizona Biennial 2015 at Tucson Museum of Art

June 25th, 2015 | No Comments

I am absolutely thrilled and honored to announce that three of my paintings have been selected to exhibit in Arizona Biennial 2015, to be held at the Tucson Museum of Art from July 25 through October 11.

This will be my fifth time showing in an Arizona Biennial — and my seventh show overall at the Tucson Museum of Art — since 2003. I exhibited consecutively in the 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009 biennials. After six years away, my upcoming return to Tucson is especially meaningful.

Nearly 1,500 works were submitted to Arizona Biennial 2015. Juror Irene Hofmann, director and chief curator of SITE Santa Fe, selected 50 works by 33 artists. A range of mediums will be represented, including painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, video, and installation art.

The three pieces selected for this summer’s biennial, shown below, reflect my maximalist and minimalist approaches to painting.

arizona biennial 2015

A New Way of Thinking About Everything. 2014. Acrylic on canvas. 24 x 28 inches (61 x 71 cm).

arizona biennial 2015

The Lake a Lilac Cube. 2014. Acrylic on canvas. 40 inches square (102 x 102 cm).

arizona biennial 2015

Confluent. 2015. Acrylic on canvas. 40 inches square (102 x 102 cm).


First organized in 1948, the Arizona Biennial is a juried exhibition that provides an opportunity to see some of the most interesting new work being created in Arizona. It is the oldest running juried exhibition featuring exclusively Arizona artists. The Arizona Biennial is open to artists age 18 and older who currently reside in Arizona.

“This Arizona Biennial represents ambitious and thought-provoking ideas as well as works that captivate the senses,” observes Dr. Julie Sasse, chief curator and curator of modern and contemporary art at Tucson Museum of Art. “It shows that contemporary art in Arizona is fully competitive with the rest of the country in formal concerns while addressing the specific qualities of place and culture that make this state so unique.”

In closing, I offer my most sincere congratulations to my fellow Arizona Biennial 2015 artists: David Emitt Adams, Elizabeth Burden, Carlton Bradford, Curt Brill, John H. Clarke, Jeffrey J. DaCosta, Jeff Dodson, Abigail Felber, Denis Gillingwater, Jennifer Holt, Alan Bur Johnson, Daniel Johnson, Carolina Maki Kitagawa, Carolyn Lavender, Ellen McMahon and Beth Weinstein, Brooke Molla, Katherine Monaghan, Anthony Pessler, Emmett Potter, Rembrandt Quiballo, Robert Renfrow, Prima Sakuntabhai, Patricia Sannit, Steven R. Schaeffer, Mike Stack, Lauren Strohacker and Kendra Sollars, Novie Trump, Zachary Valent, Kathleen Velo, and Angie Zielinski.


“Let in the Light”: Painting for America SCORES Benefit Auction

June 1st, 2015 | No Comments

grant wiggins - america scores inspired art benefit auction 2015
Let in The Light: A painting recently produced for the America SCORES Inspired Art Benefit Auction in Cleveland, which will raise funds for America SCORES’ creative after-school programming. The piece measures 16 by 20 inches and is framed and ready to hang.


This Saturday, June 6, I’ll be exhibiting at the America SCORES Inspired Art Benefit Auction in Cleveland. A painting I made especially for this fundraiser event will be on display among pieces by 50 artists who have made art that responds to the work of young Cleveland poets.

My contribution, “Let in the Light,” is inspired by the poem “Light” by Tre’Shaun A., a 10th grader at Cleveland Central Catholic High School.

Light

I walk in the shadows looking for the light
The darkness was too strong so I took flight
I have to keep pushing towards the light
Because one day I’ll be out this fight
I walk in the shadows looking for the light
I feel something loving and caring
I finally found my light

— Tre’Shaun A., Grade 10
     Cleveland Central Catholic High School

America SCORES Cleveland is a comprehensive youth development program that uses the tools of poetry, soccer, creative expression, and service-learning to empower urban youth to lead healthy lifestyles, become engaged students, and grow into community leaders.

Proceeds will directly benefit America SCORES Cleveland’s creative after-school programming, which includes creative writing, soccer, and service-learning for more than 600 Cleveland students.

If you’re interested in attending the event, which will be held at smARTspace at 78th Street Studios in Gordon Square Arts District, please visit inspiredartcleveland.com.


New Painting: Everything Is A Landscape (Or Not) 2

June 29th, 2014 | No Comments

grant wiggins - everything is a landscape (or not) 2
Everything Is A Landscape (Or Not) 2. June 2014. Acrylic on canvas. 24 x 30 inches (61 x 76 cm).


I have to confess, the World Cup has “parked the bus” in front of my easel! I simply haven’t been painting as much as I probably should lately.

While I might deserve a yellow card for time-wasting, I did recently complete this painting, Everything Is A Landscape (Or Not) 2, an acrylic-on-canvas piece that measures 24 x 30 inches (61 x 76 cm).

This painting is a remix of a painting I finished last month, shown below. I simply wanted to rework the composition, with some small adjustments to the square ribbon motif, in a completely different colorway.

grant wiggins - everything is a landscape (or not)
Everything Is A Landscape (Or Not). May 2014. Acrylic on canvas. 24 x 30 inches (61 x 76 cm).



The Story Behind My New Painting, ‘Stop Static (Before It Stops You)’

March 9th, 2014 | No Comments

What could the conveyance of visual energy, a magpie sampling aesthetic, and reclaimed stretcher bars possibly have in common? These are all things I have been thinking about as I have produced my newest painting, Stop Static (Before It Stops You).

grant wiggins - stop static before it stops you
Stop Static (Before It Stops You). Acrylic on canvas. 30 by 24 inches (76 x 61 centimeters). Commenced on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 25, 2014. Deemed complete on the afternoon of Saturday, March 8, 2014.


The primary inspiration — my starting point — for this painting is a simple box of Bounce fabric softener, an everyday object with a design that has captured my imagination for years. I love Bounce’s logotype, especially its double outlines and undulating, interlocking shapes. You may note how the lower left curve in the logotype’s “B” forms the striped motif in the upper right quadrant of the composition. What’s more, the fluorescent orange halftone pattern in the painting echoes the halftone on the box, shown below.

bounce fabric softener
A box of Bounce: What started everything for this painting.


In honor of the inspiration for this painting, I originally considered naming this piece Bounce Rate. This title could have been a nod to my experience in web content consulting. “Bounce rate” is a metric of web visitors who leave a site within five seconds of arriving; they “bounce,” in effect. Yet, I wanted to push this idea further, so I searched for figures of speech involving the word “bounce.” While that proved fruitless, I soon stumbled upon a Bounce fabric softener ad campaign from the 1990s, which had the memorable tagline “Bounce Stops Static Before Static Stops You.”

Conveying visual energy

Considering this tagline at length, and reflecting further upon what this painting represents to me, I adjusted the painting’s title again, to Stop Static (Before It Stops You). The reworked phrase sounds more like a suggestion — to keep oneself from staying still, and continue to move forward, to keep growing. The painting can serve as a visual reminder to avoid falling into ruts in day-to-day life.

I found that the new title had much in common with a central idea that I have been developing about my paintings, as a whole — that they are conveyances of visual energy. This idea came to me when one of my patrons wrote to me about some of my framed prints, which he displays in his office:

Every day [the prints] inspire me to try to pretend to be the kind of person who approaches the world with the energy and color jumping out of those little squares.

What immediately struck me about this sentence is the word energy. This is what my paintings are all about! The experience of feeling energy is what I want my paintings — especially my maximal paintings — to embody. Energy is what I want to convey through my work.

A sampling aesthetic: Merging my favorite graphical motifs

Without question, this painting is very much an homage to — and an energetic collision involving — graphical elements that fascinate me.

In addition to Bounce-inspired stripes and a classic halftone pattern (I have always loved halftones, and can never get enough of them), Stop Static also incorporates a heraldic vair ancient pattern (found in the upper left corner of the painting), and stripes of decreasing widths (another favorite motif).

Yet, the “star” graphical element is a rising diamond pattern — called “diamond haze,” I believe — by Diane von Furstenberg. For years I have admired this pattern, and have wanted to incorporate it into a composition.

von Furstenberg’s current exhibition at the Wilshire May Company Building in Los Angeles, The Journey of a Dress, has offered a perfect occasion to do so. The diamond haze pattern can be found on many of von Furstenberg’s signature wrap dresses. It also adds a visual rhythm to the walls and the floors of the exhibition. This is a classic and timeless pattern. It’s so perfect that I wish I had developed it myself. Bringing it into my work — much like sampling in music — is a way of paying tribute.

Although this painting is very much an amalgam of my favorite things, in terms of graphic motifs, ultimately I believe that this painting asks to be seen on its own terms, free of the context I just offered. There is no narrative to be had here. There is nothing to get. This painting affords a purely visual experience — and I hope it’s an energizing one, at that.

The role of “reclaimed” stretcher bars

The stretcher bars supporting this canvas are literally more than 15 years old (from the late 1990s), and recall a time when I was first learning how to paint. The bars were originally part of a pre-stretched canvas that I acquired from a store. (I haven’t purchase pre-stretched canvas in years! So much has changed.)

The painting I attempted to make on the pre-stretched canvas never got anywhere. I abandoned it, and left it in my dad’s house, where I stored many of my early works, along with my mom’s paintings.

In attempt to clear out his house, my dad recently returned to me several half-finished canvases and untouched canvas panels. What is this?, I thought, when he handed me one canvas after another. It was so hard to look at my early work! It’s awful stuff, to be honest. I struggled mightily to paint back then, and it’s evident in my brushwork.

Back at my studio, seeing this pile of old, half-finished pieces every day was a drain on my energy. Taking the canvases off the bars and rolling them up helped clear my mind.

Left with the bare stretcher bars, I realized that I had an opportunity to start over — returning to the past, building upon the past, and being reminded of how far I’ve come in 15 years. What’s more, I could make this new painting at an out-of-pocket cost of zero, using canvas, gesso, and paint that I already had in inventory. In effect, I had nothing to lose!

In the end, it was a joy to make this painting, and I hope this enjoyment comes through in my work. There were several times along the way, as I painted this piece, when I reflected on how thankful I am to be able to paint. Painting really does give me pleasure. It’s often not easy work, at all, but the rewards are profound.


‘Punchline’ at The Institute Library, New Haven; Opens November 9

October 25th, 2013 | No Comments

grant wiggins in punchline at the institute library new haven
Lost in Space: 15-18 October 2013. Acrylic on panel-mounted canvas. 12 inches square (30.5 cm x 30.5 cm).


I am extremely proud and excited to be one of 13 artists showing in Punchline, which opens Saturday, November 9 at The Institute Library in New Haven, Connecticut. This is perhaps my highest-profile show in the East Coast to date.

Punchline explores the use of humor in abstraction. According to curator Kevin Daly, who is also an accomplished artist in his own right, the exhibition is “less self-consciously concerned with relevance and criticality than with the presence of the whimsical.” He cites how all of the artists in Punchline “employ playful processes or formal languages.”

Lost in Space (shown above) will be among the five paintings I’ll be exhibiting in Punchline. The title for this painting is a pun on the process of painting. As I produced this painting throughout mid-October, I definitely felt lost in the act of making. In fact, I scrapped the first attempt. On the second, the color palette changed several times, and it seemed as if I could barely hold onto the creative reigns, as paint layers built up. When this happens, a painting can go either way, for better or worse.

Punchline will remain on view through November 27. Here’s the full roster of artists in the show:


‘Between Stars,’ a Painting for the Museum of Geometric and MADI Art’s Upcoming Fundraiser Auction

September 15th, 2013 | No Comments

grant wiggins painting for the museum of geometric art's 10th anniversary auction

I’d like to introduce to you Between Stars, which I just completed (11 – 13 September), as the Voyager spacecraft began its departure from the Solar System.

I produced this painting specifically for the Museum of Geometric and MADI Art’s 10th Anniversary Gala & Art Auction fundraiser, to be held in Dallas on October 11. The piece, which measures 20.1 x 25.4 cm (8 x 12 inches), is acrylic on panel-mounted canvas.


New Paintings: 200th Painting Added to Online Portfolio

July 11th, 2013 | No Comments

Over the course of his lifetime, Pablo Picasso made nearly 2,000 paintings — and approximately 48,000 other works — according to one estimate. Picasso was so prolific, we still don’t know for sure the total number of paintings, sculptures, sketches, prints, and other works he produced during his lifetime. The numbers keep changing, as undocumented works keep reaching the market, keeping authenticators busy.

Picasso’s lifelong relentlessness and tenacity for making new work has been on my mind a lot lately, as I recently achieved an important milestone of my own. The Paintings gallery of this site just reached the 200-painting mark, after I created pages for 13 more works.

Overall, I estimate that I have produced perhaps 250 paintings since I started in December 1994. Several paintings still need to be added to my site. And many don’t quite make the cut, unfortunately!

Regardless, the paintings I recently added — introduced below — span the Minimalism and Maximalism (Abstract) galleries of this site (what those terms mean is another blog post for another time), and have been produced 2010 onward.

Minimalism and Pattern Paintings

Maximalism Gallery

As I sit back and take a deep breath, all I can do is look forward to making another 200 paintings. Maybe one day I’ll reach the 2,000-painting milestone, like Picasso. But then again, Picasso didn’t have a web site to manage … and the glorious distraction of social media!


Abstract Acrylic Art: Paintings Showing in Vivid Visions at Compound Gallery

July 24th, 2012 | No Comments

[portfolio_slideshow]
Abstract acrylic art: Paintings I’m showing in Vivid Visions are decidedly pop art-inspired. Above, from left to right, are Psychoactive Snack; Information Overlord; The Future, Multiplied by Today; Purple Protocol; Active Receptor; and Optical Odyssey. The five framed paintings measure 12 inches square (30 cm), plus frame. The sixth is 16 inches tall by 20 inches wide (41 x 51cm). All paintings were made between May and July 2012.


The list of abstract acrylic art paintings I’m set to show in the upcoming group show Vivid Visions is now complete, and the paintings are on their way to Compound Gallery in Portland.

In all, six paintings are on their way to the show, which is curated by my great friend and fellow Arizona artist Oliver Hibert.

compound gallery portland oregon
Compound in Portland features a ground-floor retail store that specializes in apparel, shoes, accessories, and housewares. Compound Gallery is located on the second floor.


Vivid Visions opens at Compound Gallery on Thursday, August 2. It will remain on view through September 1. Other artists exhibiting in Vivid Visions are Buff Monster, Jesse Hibert, Oliver Hibert, Spencer Hibert, Martin Ontiveros, and Pinky. Read more about the artists on compoundgallery.com.


30-Minute Abstract Art Sketches

June 30th, 2011 | 2 Comments

Lately I have been experimenting with time-based abstract art sketches. For 30 minutes at a stretch, I attack a given composition with all I’ve got, working to produce something visually compelling under the pressure of a time limit.

Because the clock is ticking as I go, I have to work fast, and I have no time to second-guess myself. I am forced to “turn off my brain.” My intuition takes over. I go into a zone where some of my most creatively satisfying work happens. Things just happen.

abstract art sketches
abstract art sketches
Two recent abstract art sketches: I am in the process of refining these sketches into compositions that I will eventually paint. Going forward, I will be careful to honor the spirit of the original sketch — in other words, not tinker too much.


These 30-minute abstract art sketches also offer me a format for keeping my compositional skills fresh. It’s almost like how baseball players take batting practice every day, stepping into the batting cage and hacking away, working on the mechanics of their swings, trying to relax, and not to force anything, in the process.

Ideally, just like batting practice, I’d like set aside time each day to make a sketch, working on one specific design motif or geometric element per session. Unfortunately, I haven’t quite found the time to do this every day!

Another benefit of the 30-minute approach is that it prevents me from tinkering with a composition until I reach the point of diminishing returns, something I have encountered in the past. In fact, last summer I produced 24 different takes on the same composition! Results varied by the end, anyway: Once I started painting, the painting took on new life, deviating from the original sketch in significant ways.

I should add that I started experimenting with 30-minute sketches four years ago. The spontaneous art that followed, part of an art lottery project, eventually resulted in paintings such as Corporate Wellness Program.

We’ll see, indeed, whether my current batch of abstract art sketches will metamorphose into paintings in the physical realm.


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