Le Nouvel Observateur, 21 x 27 inches, oil on linen
If you have been following this blog a while, you may know that from time to time I rework an older painting, sometimes making drastic changes.
I got a bunch of paintings back from a few galleries recently, and as I sat in my studio staring at them, I felt that familiar urge to take my brush and slap some paint on these older paintings.
I say older, but they're not really that old. some are from my solo show, Urban Aria, which was two years ago. Some others are done just last year. But I guess the way I approach my work has changed a bit in that short time so I felt that I couldn't send these out to other venues without bringing them up to date to the way my current work looks.
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to do a series of posts on the before and after of these paintings.
The main difference between my styles then and now is that now, my work has more emphasis on concepts pertaining to abstraction. The surface has a lot more notes that intentionally do not contribute to literal description of the thing being painted, and also I'm more obsessive about how adjacent shapes are integrated.
Also, on the whole, I am looking for more impact. My paintings are typically on the quiet side - sometimes too quiet, and I wanted a little more oomph without compromising my identity. I don't want loud colors or extreme contrasts. I just want to push it just a little bit.
I found that abstraction goes hand in hand with surface activity, and the more active the surface quality, the less I need to conform to the rules of representational painting. That seems obvious, but it's not easy to do. Not for me, anyway, especially since I still want my painting to read as a representational work.
I need to strike a balance between abstraction and representation, and I'm slowly making progress, but each painting of course is different, so there's no blanket rule that I can apply to magically transform it so it looks how I want it to look.
Anyway, what I wanted to say was that the relationship between abstraction, surface activity, impact, and identity is what I'm obsessing about with these changes I'm making to my older paintings.
I did a lot of work on this one on the top and the bottom part of the painting. The addition of the figures are obvious, and so is the color change. I don't know if you can see it in the jpeg, but the brushwork and the general application of flat shapes in these areas are very non-representational.
A little more impact, more abstract notes, and shape integration; Check!
Stay tuned. I'll post some other pieces that went through bigger changes.