A change of course, of course

September 25th, 2007 | No Comments

Over the summer, I returned to minimalist painting yet again. My interest in pared-down compositions was rekindled unexpectedly, out of the blue. Starting in mid-June, I was focused solely on making pared-down compositions, letting line and color work on their own terms. I was transfixed by the idea of doing more with less.

Somehow, however, the novelty of minimalism started to wear off about three weeks ago. Inexplicably, I found myself getting bored with the pared down and spare — the simple stuff. No matter what adjustments I made, I wasn’t happy with the results. A few stripes here and there weren’t doing anything for me. I felt like I was trying to divine something that wasn’t there. I got bored.

So I started making patterns again. And it only took about two months to reach that point.

And so, a few days ago, I decided that minimalism isn’t where I want to go with my art, after all, at least for now. I therefore feel compelled to recant what I wrote back in June, when I swore off maximal art. The funky, fresh, and fun stuff — swatches of my homespun 70s wallpaper patterns, fragments of logos and garbled nonsense, the work I produced this spring — is where all the fun is at.

I’ve veered from minimalism and maximalism several times over the past four years. I wonder if changing my mind like this is healthy — a sign of growth — or a sign that I’ve lost my voice. Hopefully it’s the former.

Years ago, I banged out weird ideas for paintings with seeming ease. They just popped into my head and I made them happen. My ideas don’t happen that way anymore. My process is different; I sketch out elements in pieces and jam them together. To me, that way of working offers many more possibilities for surprise and strangeness.

My plan for now, and for the future, is just to make things that I enjoy and lose myself in the creative process — the act of making. I just want to sit down at the desk (or easel), put on the headphones, and mess around, not really caring about the outcome or thinking so much. Just focusing on process, not product. I hope to post the results of this newly chartered course soon.

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