I chose to call this exhibition « Analogs » because I think it describes my current approach to the paintings.
During my last exhibition at Martos gallery in New York, I realized that I considered each painting to be neither representational, nor truly “abstract” in the classic sense of these terms. Rather, each painting served as a vehicle to replicate an experience.
For example, in the NY exhibition, I presented a large painting of a bright blue lozenge on a dark blue ground. Now, is this a representational painting of a lozenge? An abstract painting of self-sufficient elements? Or a representational painting of the logo of the production company Les Films du Losange from which it was inspired? In my current thinking, I think it is all of these, but the painting serves, and was made in order to, replicate my experience of seeing the beautiful blue lozenge on a movie screen.
Each painting then is a replication and re-presentation of an experience. I consider this approach analog.
I chose the image for the exhibition simply by googling the word “analog.” It is a representation of an electrical analog signal, which technically has nothing to do with the exhibition. But, it represents a wavelength in time. I like that because our perception of color is not static, but also takes place in time. Could the image be considered as a kind of symbol for looking at paintings?
The large magenta disk is called « Illinois Memory ». It is an effort to re-produce or replicate the experience of looking west from a car driving from Springfield to Naperville, Illinois 27 November 2009 at 16:15, the
moment that the setting sun grazed the horizon. As such, I think this may be my most auto-biographical painting yet. In my previous exhibition, I made a large yellow-orange disk called Ra, which was an effort to create an experience that corresponded with my understanding of the Egyptian deity of the solar disk. I like that two paintings of the same thing, the sun, can have completely different colors and “feeling.”
« The Swimmer » is an effort to recreate an image from the eponymous 1968 film starring Burt Lancaster.
After realizing he has lived a life of delusion, the protagonist returns to his abandoned home. He tries to enter, but the door is locked. One of the final images of the movie is Burt banging fruitlessly on a massive wooden door. This painting replicates the pattern of wooden moulding on the door. Doors treated frontally are a theme that many artists have explored, such as Marcel Duchamp, Gary Hume and Viktor Kopp. This is my contribution to that tradition.
« Mercure » is a painting of a blue grid on a silver-blue ground. I was inspired to make this painting after looking at the Hôtel Mercure at the Porte de Pantin, not far from my house. I liked that I could make a beautiful painting based on bland and ugly vernacular architecture which one sees in shopping centers, offices, hotels along the highway, etc. in France.
« Eight-Limbed-Form » for BKS is an effort to re-create a concept from yoga. Ashtanga yoga rests on eight “limbs” or “branches” which are often represented as a yellow-orange wheel with eight spokes. Ethical conduct, personal discipline, practice of postures, breathing exercises, withdrawal, concentration, meditation
and absorption are the eight branches. At the same time, I wanted the color and the form to be luminous and active in a way that recalled the feeling of lightness and energy one can experience. It is dedicated to BKS
Iyengar, who recently died.
« Scanner » is a small green painting on a silver ground. I decided to make it after seeing a similar image of a radar screen in a japanese animated movie. It could also recall a scanner that you see at the grocery store or elsewhere in daily life.
Two paintings are of ellipses and are drawn from two places. First, I like the ellipse motif that one sees in French architecture and design from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. One sees this motif in the landscapes of André Le Nôtre, for example. I hope that these ellipse paintings have a kind of “classical” space which can be understood in this way. Second, I like Indian tantric paintings, which also date to the
seventeenth century. These are generally small works on cardboard which were held in the hands and stared at for long periods as an aid in meditation. They often contain a central oval of one color on a ground of another
color. I enjoyed discovering these paintings at exhibitions at Drawing Center and the gallery Feature Inc. gallery in New York.
« Black Mirror » was inspired by a tantric painting I saw on the internet. It was a black oval on a black ground with a fine line of luminosity around the central figure. “Black Mirror” is another name for “Claude glasses” (after Claude Lorrain) which were dark, convex mirrors used in the eighteenth century to make picturesque landscape paintings. The blue ellipse is a more direct citation of a tantric painting and also channels my interest in IKB and Lucio Fontana.