Into the Cloud

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Far Nearer Tomorrow, 60 x 66in, Oil on Linen, 2013

I’m standing in my painting studio staring out the dirty windows with more or less an imagined blank expression. There is cloud drift blending into that blue which only appears just before the night. The sky feels curved in the last quiet threshold of color. My headphones are a cocoon for the drone, the ghostly gossamer of echo and hiss produced by the distant and bygone coupling of lovesliescrushing. Three indelible, saturating words that perfectly suggest an ambient angst.

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Whitenoise No.13
24 x 18in
Oil on Linen
2011

This stare, this stance is somewhat the norm when I’m in this room. The windows are a screen through which I watch the atmospheric drift outside while I drift inside through the conscious and unconscious acts of painting, notating, or simply pacing. In here, I am amorphous and airy, parched and icy. I am compelled and fallen. This is a place where things are looked for.

It has only occurred to me quite recently that the generative locus for my recent period of works, as a painter, is quite possibly the windows of this room that are fully dusted with the dark residue of the metropolis outside. They are the most literal interface in this room of one, framing what is outside while I am firmly inside, concerned mostly with the gestures of production and a preoccupation with the clock. Nearly a decade of countless hours has passed at these particular studio windows, reminding me that it is not a space of place but a space of flows. Much like the paintings themselves, these windows function as a portal, but also like an interface, reminding me of the other “screens” through which I stare. These other screens are a progression of computers and smart phones, an aggregate of the televised and cinematic event, the witness account of the passenger. The distant becomes near, the vector is enframe, while the virtual light of network impresses into the optic nerve likening to occurrence itself.

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Studio Window

It has only occurred to me quite recently that the generative locus for my recent period of works, as a painter, is quite possibly the windows of this room that are fully dusted with the dark residue of the metropolis outside.

As you might imagine I paint under the natural light that glares through these windows as much as I take cues from the weather cycles that pass by them. Another sun comes, another sun goes, daylight storms and concrete colored mists materialize, only to fade to black. The window frames are walls and bridges to coaxing clouds into the room. The fugitive moments outside, out of focus, are like evocations of songs from before, catalysts for longing. But there is also the reverberation of the virtual light of the digital screen in this room. Within this screen the cloud is associative, organizing a temporal geography of possibilities, multiples and continuous times, feeds and spaces. This is not the light of rationalism, nor the ancient light of a distant star, of particles and waves. This is the light-lag of network, of distant data packets, of millions of calculations, of interstitial space where presence and absence fuse into equivalents. It is the light of transmitted mental states, and the shared hallucination of the “immense accumulation of spectacle.” We blur effortlessly, disappearing along its dynamic of calamity and chatter.

Out of convenience, I’ve called myself a landscape painter for a long time now, but truthfully, the paintings are closer to architectures and constructions that depict textures of terrains, the surges and withdrawals of gathered movement. There is no true access point of (place) attachment. Naturalism is mimed, in an intimation of landscape. This is a simulation.

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The Long Now, 60 x 52in, Oil on Linen, 2011
Whitenoise No. 14, 24 x 18in, Oil on Linen, 2011

Each painting is an assemblage of imagistic qualities, overlapping and recurring, upheld by stacked fields of color and light. I source, assimilate, index, and digitize photographic ephemera. This is the image sprawl of the digital cloud repurposed into my crude glossary of research for the next “decision” that has to be meted out by hand and brush. I work the wet surface sporadically, oscillating between habitual repetition and constant redrafting, reducing all gestures to mere traces of the primary attraction. I clumsily traverse between my atlas of accumulated referents, the intuitive moments from the previous session and the limits of who I am in that timed expression we call painting.

The horizon is where the sky and earth touch, giving us our rough coordinate frame. We head toward its direction even as it shifts and eludes us with our every step. The repetitions of horizon lines within my paintings suggest a distance through verticality, but they also imply compression. A heavy firmament wall presses down, pressing against the plane. This tension between surface and depth, between the high and low order of pictorial elements engages the capacity for precision and ambience at the same time. Perhaps both expectation and attention are summoned together, correlating between an uncertain internal state and a precarious outer state, summoning the near and far, the moving and still. The beautiful and the terrible reside, irrevocably bound at the middle, like the uncanniness of silence and solitude and the contingency of what is being experienced.

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Whitenoise No.1, 24 x 18in, Oil on Linen, 2008
Whitenoise No.3, 24 x 18in, Oil on Linen, 2008
Whitenoise No.4, 24 x 18in, Oil on Linen, 2008