Saturday, October 18, 2008

About the Work

I love shifting between media---oil paint, acrylic, pen and ink, or encaustic; and mixing the media with collage. The “shift” is often dictated by the content of the work.   Maintaining connections between groups of work or making the decision to deviate towards a new direction is one of the primary challenges involved with switching between media but I also like the way that challenge keeps me from becoming complacent or bored.

The work also ranges from pure non-objective imagery to abstracted images grounded in real life. I love the activity of the gestural mark as much as I love the silence of the minimal presentation with little sign of the artist’s hand. The monotony of making the same mark repeatedly, over and over, becomes as much a mantra for meditation as any uttered sound.

Themes are not exotic. They’re simply reflections of my daily life. What I see as I travel across the country or driving back and forth to work. The often-monotonous cadence of everyday rituals for instance, and my concerns with aging and preventative measures taken to slow down that process. Individual series arise out of these themes, and while these are personal, they are not unique

Garden, Blue Note, and Rounding Out.......

Garden/Red,  oil, 36x36in

Paintings in series Garden, Blue Note, and Rounding Out, fulfill my desire to marry the repetitive element from Collections and Rituals with shapes that more intentionally reference the real world and suggest narrative. In the past I referred to my work as ‘non-narrative narratives’ and I think that idea certainly carries through into the series I call Garden and Blue Note. While maintaining the element of abstraction and mystery that I love with invented shapes, personal icons, and fragments of my experience, I attempt to capture the essence of a moment or event rather than giving a blow by blow detailed account.

Diver from Blue Note series, oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches
Ritual and Collections......

“Ritual” series is quiet and passive---repetitive, contemplative, marking the passage of time. "Garden" and "Blue Note" attempt to capture time all in one image.

In "Ritual" part of “Collections” definitely maintains a nonobjective quality with no illusion to pictorial space. Any sense of depth is due to the translucent quality of the encaustic medium, and it is the materiality of the work that allows for “reference.” For me they make reference to ideas or social constructs that don’t have physicality. They become visual parallels rather than narratives. 


My process is probably best described as intuitive but by intuitive I don’t mean there aren’t guidelines established before I begin. Every series has its own particular set of limitations. For instance, the range of colors used; whether to use collage material or not; what particular kinds of shapes are allowed; or whether there are any limitations at all except for the size and shape of the support. These are just some of the issues settled before a series is begun. Within these parameters, the paintings evolve 

Blue Note, 12 x 24 inches, oil on canvas, ©GwendolynPlunkett