When asked to create a set of paintings for the opening of inde/jacobs‘ new gallery, I did not know it was the next step down a path that had been revealing itself slowly through a series of seemingly unrelated events. A path toward defining a new ethos for the work I do in the studio, a context to guide me.
In late December 2014, the paintings were installed in a space at the gallery which is created by three walls suspended from the ceiling so they float about 3 feet from the floor. A skylight floods the space with ever-changing light depending on weather and time of day. I have been painting by natural light for a number of years and it is the way I prefer to look at my paintings, so this space was a dream come true. This is a photo taken from outside the space showing the light radiating from under the floating walls.
On first seeing this space, I thought “it’s a chapel.” It was obvious the space required work quite different from my last series, Fourths & Fifths, of playful colors and technique — something more somber and numinous which would evoke echoing silence, deep quiet.
I have not painted on canvas for a long time, nor a painting made from thin, successive veils of color, but this felt like the right thing to do for the centerpiece of the installation, Sequel.
I began seeing the outlines of this new ethos when I began the work of naming the small paintings to flank Sequel. At the time I was reading David Abram’s “Becoming Animal,” a chapter named “Wood and Stone.” Stone. There’s a good solid, strong word. I have collected stones from my walks, the ones which beckoned to me by shape or color or some communication perhaps even deeper than that. I have rested against the granite boulders of the mountain and felt something ineffable move between the boulder and me which comforted me.
Here is the first painting in the Stone series, “Khthon.”
To return to the word “numinous,” the definition is “suggesting the presence of a divinity.” Since I am not a religious person, divinity is not something above and beyond, embedded in an anthropomorphic god. The divine is here and now, it is the breath of this living earth, it is in the stones, the mountains. It is in the wind through the trees and grasses causing them to whisper and sing.