On Friday, I will exhibit my work at Point Gallery in Denver. Paintings I delivered on Tuesday to the gallery included an older work that has been wrapped away in storage for many years- Admit One. I created the painting in 2008. Pulling it out and thinking about it being in the public sphere made me reflect on how it came to be. It is a painting I consider pivitol in my transformation into an abstract painter, but it is also a painting that I have not thought of much in the last few years.
I distinctly remember looking at a Judith Streeter painting in Art and America and realizing that the picture plane was an entirely free space, an area in which one could lay down any image or color, creating a lyrical composition. My painting thus far had suffered many layers, none which felt right or authentic. Seeing Judith's painting unlocked one secret in approaching the canvas. Suddenly I felt freedom. I let my intuition guide my painting decisions and the final painting emerged. This secret, however, was the superficial one. The one centered around composition and form.
The true revelation in this painting is reflected in an essay shared by my beloved painting teacher Joan Anderson. The essay was by Karl Paulnack, director of the Boston Conservatory and a pianist. It was a welcome address to incoming musicians at the Boston Conservatory. In this address, he identifies the key job of music: to disover the invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and order them. Music and art are interchangeable in this regard, and this painting is significant for me in that it successfully re-ordered my internal life. When I stood back and realized the painting was complete, I also realized that something had shifted within me. An external recognition of internal struggle, things I had difficulty naming, suddenly became clear, ordered, and at peace. This knowledge of how to use art to transform the self in order to understand the soul is what I have carried with me ever since.