I've started a rebellion of sorts. A rebellion against my own formula. These pieces of work are different for me. They expand on the paper paintings I've been doing lately, but they take things in an unexpected direction. A direction based in text.
When you find yourself on the floor with a nub of charcoal and thirty scribed pieces of paper, you realize, there's been resistance within you. Obviously, things needed to be said. Recently, these things poured out of me on what started as a moody day, but turned out to be a day I would gladly return to now. A day of clarity. A day of closeness to God. There was a fluidity that I can only assume was created by coffee, prayer, dirty hands, loud music, and charcoal. I was in the "zone." Whatever the recipe, prayer is the ingredient to which I give most credit.
What came out was a reflection on me and my time, readings, relationships, God, life, and death. You know, the deep stuff. It was writing without purpose or intent. It was without filter. The ripped-from-the-roll paper gave me randomly sized, oblong pieces of paper. So, the paper size and the charcoal bits were my only limitations of what could be written. Some words were deleted, some added back in, some glued into sentences, and others left appropriately cryptic.
I was left with a stack of really great takeaways. It felt like evidence of a grand moment that had then passed. Days later, in my own aggravation with painting, I stumbled across the stack of papers again, and realized, at that moment, the writings surpassed the power of what I was trying to create visually. They were more direct. Still open to interpretation of the viewer. But just so honest. Written with the same haste as initially written, I picked up a brush and dark mix and the words went over top of failing paintings, with much error and everyday handwriting. A modest delivery of my very human messages.
As I said, this work is different for me. I have many reservations and struggles with my painting. The struggle always deals with the validity and cohesion of the body of work of which I am making. It is the most profound memory I have from a college professor, the best advice I can give to others, and yet the piece of artmaking I always stress over. Making cohesive work. Conforming work to fit in a series. Yet, I can still hear the words out of my professor's mouth, "Your work will be cohesive, because it is all coming from the same mind." This is all true. However, I like series. I like package deals. I like to feel as though some works are brothers and sisters to other paintings with similar color schemes and subject matter. I give myself limitations. Literally, a frame of mind. I see the dangers in thinking this way, though. And, it is precisely this way of thinking that landed me in the position to not love what I was painting. It makes me happy to share these with you, and at the same time, know that there may or may not be more just like it. There is great freedom in that.