"Heat of the Moment: New Paintings in Encaustic"
Arden Gallery, Boston, September 5~30
Reception: Friday, September 8, 5-7 pm
Gallery Talk: Saturday, September 9, 1pm
JM: Quadrate 2, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches, 2006
In my blog, I'll shortly be posting a piece on painting in acrylic As you know, my primary medium is encaustic. I'll update this post soon with a link.
But enough about moi. Where do you think your own work will go with Bojagi? A series? And we're about to start a new month. What direction will your HTML drawings take?
"The lighting wasn't so great I thought in the gallery- kind of harsh, showed imperfections across some of the surfaces and at the edges that, given the way the paintings are made, seemed out of place. No way could I have known from pix on gallery web site that he was contrasting thin vs. built-up areas, and matte vs. shinier surfaces. That didn't work so well for me.
And I was trying to understand the purpose for planes to wrap around the sides of the canvas, as if the planes on the front that continued around to the side were portions of a 3-D block embedded in the canvas- do you know what I mean, that he was making the canvas an object but also some of the planes on the front of the canvas began to feel like 3-D rectangles because they wrapped around the edges to the side? That and the consistently close valued, muted colors just didn't come alive for me."
Bojagi (Pojagi), or wrapping cloths, are Korean textiles pieced together from small scraps of cloth. Bojagi have very old origins, but those still in existence date from the Choson dynasty (1392 – 1910). They are used for wrapping, carrying and storing objects, and as table coverings, altar cloths and special-occasion decorations. Bojagi are usually square and come in a range of sizes. Fabrics used in bojagi include silk, cotton, hemp and ramie. Ramie is a fiber made from the stalks of a woody shrub indigenous and unique to Korea. It can be woven into a very thin, even-textured and strong fabric that is extraordinarily long-lasting. There are many different types of bojagi including lined or unlined, embroidered, painted and gold-leafed (URL).
I have a lot of stuff in progress. I'm really just painting kind of whatever I want- I'm feeling very loose, and I'm very open to all kinds of imagery. What I'm doing is rolling right out of what I've been doing since around fall 2004, and getting a whole lot more comfortable with oil and all of the different ways it can be handled. I like that my approach, and the variety of the work, still feels to me part of a single overall approach, and I like that I don't feel locked into a certain way of painting. I like being able to work in bursts and smaller series, to shift gears, to have some works that belong together but are separate from another group of work. I'm liking the domestic, intimate, personal feel of what I'm doing- these are smaller issue paintings, intimate, but also painting in a way that is critical of painting and its history and possiblities, all while staying within the tradition- oil, on canvas, over stretchers, on the wall. Nothing radical? I feel that this kind of low tech approach, in the face of so many things that are depersonalizing, in a time of the absence of the original, next to so much art that is not about the unique handmade object, that this little domestic approach has the possilibity of being very radical. I'm thinking of this idea of a domestic kind of art as acoustic, like playing acoustic guitar rather than big plugged-in electric, but acoustic with a bigger idea in mind- playing acoustic guitar and recording it with iTunes to be used in a larger context than one's porch or backyard. Just thinking, just wondering what this is and where it goes. Also, I think, actually, that this approach is realistic. I have a day job. I have a small place to work. I'm very busy. I don't have hours on end in the studio. I don't think my ambition is to make ten foot paintings. I'm trying to be realistic about how painting is part of my life. I'm in it for something other....
Below: Mensie Lee Petway, Strips, pieced quilt, 2003
Left: Peruvian tapestry fragment
Right: Young monks in a Bhutan monastery facing a painted or tiled wall. The block pattern is very much like the the 1930s Amish quilt from Lancaster County, Pa., below
Below: Mondrian, Contexture, oil on canvas, 1930s; above: another 1930s Amish quilt. Do I need to comment on all the visual connections?
When I Met You (Pacific), 20060720, HTML, 300 x 400 pixels