My geometric abstracts are an extension of the tradition that was advanced in the 1960s and 70s, variously known as hard-edge abstraction or colorfield painting (but at times identified as minimal, cool, post-painterly, etc.). That work was derived from earlier twentieth century non-figural abstraction (de Stijl, Neoplasticism, Constructivism, late Cubism). While I haven’t abandoned the easel and use paintbrushes, the surface is devoid of perceptible texture and traces of paint-handling, except for the slight ridges caused by the removed tape. I use geometric shapes (triangles, squares, rectangles, rhomboids, and trapeziums) arranged in “boxed” non-hierarchical patterns that structure the compositional field of the entire surface. My subject is color and line, and the tension that arises through the juxtapositions created by abrupt transitions between pattern areas. Patterns are individuated and used repeatedly across separate works, although not bound by color or scale. I think of each pattern as a block reminiscent of a batik tjap, or a syntactical unit such as a prepositional phrase or a subject and its predicate. Where a pattern is placed in relation to others in any given work, as well as variations in color and scale, offer infinite possibilities for structuring the surface field. While clarity of design has been a frequent goal of geometric abstract artists, because I may use a dozen or more ‘boxed’ patterns in any given work, the complexity multiplies.
I paint with acrylic gouache, which is matte, and individual patterns are autonomous and devoid of modulation or emotional expression (i.e., brushwork), keeping the work objective and impersonal. There’s no illusion of space or identifiable real-world subject. I regard my work in geometric abstraction as an extension of the movement away from gestural, expressionist abstraction, a movement advanced over the last half-century by artists such as Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, Frank Stella, and Ellsworth Kelly, and to a less degree, Mark Rothko and Richard Diebenkorn. Several predecessors are important to me, particularly Victor Vasarely, Piet Modrian, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee Kasimir Malevich, and Islamic art in general. Among contemporary artists, I value the the paintings of Sarah Morris, Dion Johnson and John Matt.
acrylic gouache paint, matte acrylic varnish on cradled birch panel