Sunday, November 30, 2008

A corner:

studio corner on 11-30-08
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

What is:

mise en abyme sketch, Digital. Ken Weathersby
click image to enlarge

Shapes in my paintings--

I have used borrowed and modified shapes from art history in some recent works: marcus & commodus (from two ancient Roman sculptures of emperors), murder of abel (from a medieval relief sculpture), now david & goliath (from a Renaissance painting). I derived specific contours from these works by pulling out figurative shapes for my own use.

In a different approach to getting shapes, I've made up randomesque, neutral shapes (not random in a Duchampian sense-- maybe more neutral in a Barthesian sense). These shapes are formally similar to the derived shapes but have no history other than a personal one. They emerge from scribbled notations made by me. That process could be seen as coming close to surrealist activity, but is done with an attitude of no interest in that. I'm not pulling forth treasure from the unconscious, just reproducing simple squiggles of my own that will do the job demanded by other factors.

The point in both cases is to get something the rectangles that I use in some paintings don't provide.
  • Irregular non-symmetrical shapes are needed for shapes to be recognized as possessing a common identity even when flipped, removed or rotated.
  • This identifiable quality is also what makes these conditions of change, difference and opposition perceptible.
There is the strange notion of physically different objects (separate inset panels or canvases) or even objects and absences (holes or openings with the same shape) seeming to share an identity-- seeming to be in some sense the "same thing". These "same things" can then be opposed in orientation, direction, availability, further complicating the understanding of what is.