Wednesday, December 30, 2015

It starts here

For almost my whole life my doodles have consisted of a set of intersecting lines which sometimes serve to contain a space and at other times end "in thin air". This is just one of hundreds on my iPad.

I am pretty sure that the origin of this motif is from a painting called New England Spring by C. Fayette Taylor. Taylor was a prominent engineering professor at MIT but turned to painting and sculpture in his later years. 

New England Spring by C. Fayette Taylor

My parents owned two paintings by Taylor, this one being the most representational. I don't know if he used this motif in other works because I can't find any more information about his painting  He was primarily known for his metal sculptures and there doesn't seem to be a catalogue of those either.

My mother gave me both paintings a few years ago and New England Spring hangs opposite my bed. Until recently I hadn't stopped to think about why the motif fascinates me. I now realize that it is because it can represent many of the topics that interest me, among them:

Secrets - I am constantly aware that everyone and every situation holds secrets which affect the outcome of events, even if they may never be revealed.

Layers - As above, I am interested in what lies beneath. I have previously done work where I excavated the pieces, discarding upper layers to find something underneath. The lines of the grid, made fatter, are the ground to be excavated.

Open-ended states - Sometimes there is a blurring of situations where one runs into another. Is it important to know where one thing ends and another starts?

Multi-facets - I live a life of many parts. It is a curse and a pleasure. I am interested in the impact on me and others of my split focus.

Interruption of pretty - The pretty could go on and on but the lines stop that progression. Good thing!

Networks, connections, fascia - Recently I have become interested in the physical links within our bodies. This grid plays into those interests.

Armour - I hide the real me behind a very effective armour. But there are holes in that armour and some people can see through. 

Paths taken (and not) - My life and those of the people with whom I work is a story of choices made and not made.

There are an infinite number of ways to modify this motif. How do they change its meaning?
Quality of stroke
Thickness of stroke
Value of stroke
Colour of stroke
Straight vs curved
Integration of straight and curved
Lines as shadows
Lines as gaps

Type of background - heterogeneous, homogeneous
Value of background relative to lines

I am undertaking a year long exploration of this motif. I will have the assistance of a mentor who I hope will keep me focused on both the work and the questions I want to answer. I intend to make a series of pieces which use the motif in some form. I expect that the first few pieces will help me streamline the production by answering questions about how best to create the backgrounds and apply the overlay of lines. Once I have sorted out those issues I  can move on to deeper work. To start, most of the pieces will be small (probably not longer than 18" on a side) but they will get bigger as the year goes on.

I have decided that I will not spend any effort on titles because they might steer me in the future. So the series will be 'Inspired by CFT, #1" etc.

I will use this blog to document each piece - why I made it, how I did it, what I learned and what questions it answered and/or generated. It will be a good reference for me. Writing often helps me sort out the problems with each piece and also provides a jumping off point for the next one.

If this intrigues you I suggest that you subscribe by email using the tool in the right sidebar. At times I will post several times a week but there will occasionally be long gaps because of my schedule or the need to keep something under wraps. 

1 comment:

  1. That first image just blew me away when it came up on my screen. I could live with that as a window-on-other very happily.