This new work which began a couple years ago by revisiting projecting photos on a surfaces and re-photographing, then morphed into holding photos up to a light and changing the way they appeared - then into layering photos together -papers with words printed on them over photos, to using a micro lens to sandwich slides and prints, thus bringing in old paintings and drawings - to this work begun in November 2008 using the computer to put all of my work together into individual pieces- is an attempt to bring the powers of photography(a expressive documentary art) with the wonderful quality of paint and lines drawn with the hand(an inward expressive art that is unique to ones expressive ability) into one that now become another picture, another meaning altogether.
I remember seeing the work of David Salle years ago and really finding an appeal, yet I didn't really like the work. I liked the organization I guess of paint and mark and the occasional recognizable object that was connecting me to it in human terms, not art terms. Salle's objects and subjects left me flat, but that is just me. I also remembered Robert Rauschenberg and his layering of photographic materials with paint and drawn lines.
When I sat down to work in this manner, and believe me its doing nothing for my posture or the size of my ass as it is hours on a computer, I thought about paint more than photography in its construction. I didn't research any of these memories of artists. The first few I made were clunky and relying too much on photoshop, and not as much on my hand. When I started digging even deeper into the archives of my work, I felt there was a lifetime of work that I can now consider sketches to influence a whole new body of work. Plus I can make new images to join in with this history of work. I feel I can now gel together virtually everything I've studied and produced into new work to formulate new ideas. This is exciting!
I began looking up these artists again. And they are still flat to me. Both artists seem to concentrate on the external worlds--on pop culture, on icon-isms etc... Of course this is vast generalization based on only seeing a few works--and reproductions of them at that! But it does help me figure out my own work--and though I struggle with not spending too much time on external devices such as commenting on this thing called the art world, If feel as if I have gained understanding again about what art is to me--the poetry of it, the person drive. Duchamp was right when he said and artist makes work, its up to the viewer to take from it what they will.
There is something in photography that connects us as viewers, much more so than painting. The power to relate to the human connection. In realist painting we tend be overwhelmed by the talent of the artist sometimes and miss the story, at least us dummies do. Seldom do have the same reaction to a well photographed face, instead we're drawn to the subject matter.
I think that is what is giving me the energy I have right now in this work. The deficiencies I see in my ability as a painter can be overcome, at the same time the deficiencies I've had in photography as an expressive art medium can be overcome by meshing them together now.
I'm still struggling with this--and probably always will. The hardest part is working out the meanings so that they make sense--and don't simply 'look cool'. I want to use the power of photographing the figure, and face etc... to lead us to some deeper thought process, not just leave us flat or confounded. The use of words is important in many ways as the words can draw even more pictures and bring the viewer even deeper as the words allow them to draw their own pictures--good or bad--the viewer still has to come and take from a work what they will--which isn't always what the artist intended. I think that is a good thing. Because so often what we intend, is small in comparison to what we end up making!
2005, part of the "2 photographers, 200' of film" show with Harmony Motter