In the past I have used the landscape as a source of structure, an arena to facilitate the expression of form, line, and color in order to discuss metaphysical and spiritual themes found in nature. I was, and still am, very interested in the work of Wassily Kandinsky. This spiritual intention in my work has recently led me beyond–or within, depending on how one wants to look at it–the landscape in hopes of articulating something more with less. I’m currently working on developing a body of work based on the idea of noumena (pl.):
Noumenon (n.): an object or event outside the detection of the senses; itself inaccessible to experience, to which a phenomenon is referred for the basis of its sense content; a posited object or event that is known (if at all) without the use of the senses.
Essentially: Phenomena are things that exist as experienced by one or more of our five senses. Noumena are things that exist, if at all, outside of our human ability to experience them.
I understand that making paintings about noumena is a contradiction; paintings are viewed and therefore phenomena, but I am confident in their merit. The work is sincere and comes from a deep and cherished sense of wonder at our existence. I have been researching philosophy (Emanuel Kant uses the word noumena in his Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals) and art history. I am humbly seeking to build on themes that Kandinsky, Mondrian, Rothko, and Newman explored in their paintings — sublime art that seeks spiritual truth. At the risk of making art that is esoteric and arrogant, I truly think the series I’m working on can effectively illustrate the concept of noumena, have a spiritual impact, and connect with a wide audience.
One of my more recent undertakings was an increase of scale: 81.58″ x 132″ on stretched canvas. It was completed July/August of 2015 and briefly exhibited at an open studio held 8/29/2015. It is made of the same parts as the other paintings so far, however, I believe new results were achieved simply due to its scale (bigger than the viewer, thus bringing the viewer into the painting’s environment). I believe this work has opened up new possibilities that discuss themes of individual narrative versus universal narrative, and how we approach the viewing experience.
I want my work to resonate with viewers on a nearly subconscious level and instigate thoughts and feelings of mystery and wonder, prompting perhaps to even contemplate the self, as individual, in relation the whole of our existent reality. I am at peace with paradox. The value for me is not necessarily in finding answers, but rather in the process of exploring possibilities and establishing merit in the pursuit of worthy goals. I want to honor the question.
I seek to engage the observer in a way that invites careful attention, emanates sincerity, and provokes reflection.
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