Date of Submission
Project Advisor 1
Writing this artist statement is difficult for me, it is hard to come up with something to write about my work that feels sincere and not like an arbitrary after the fact construction. Wherever these paintings end up, they will not have an artist statement or me to explain them, and I want them to be able to be viewed without any addendum. Particularly with abstract paintings I feel like I don’t want to put words in the mouths of the viewers, painting is a fundamentally visual medium and I want these works to be viewed as such. I want to embrace the subjectivity of the viewing experience, and acknowledge that each viewer brings their own interpretations and associations and constructs meaning from there. That said, the statement is a requirement and artists are rightfully expected to be able to talk or write about their work. I want viewers to look first and then read this, and acknowledge that while I have a privileged stance as the creator of these paintings, the viewer, naïve of the process of creation, brings the unique filter of their own mind and sees a novelty in these works that I cannot.
My process begins with photography, though I have little technical or formal knowledge of the medium. I like the uniquely 21st century experience of having a camera on hand at almost all times and I habitually photograph images, forms and textures that stand out to me. While I respect the expressive power of drawing or painting from life, I am drawn to the documentary aspect of photography: its ability to capture a form exactly as it appears. I have been using a projector to then transfer these forms onto paintings, as well as collaging inkjet prints.
I am interested in the way photography, drawing, and painting can change the way we look at the world, and I have a pseudo-scientific interest in the cognitive restructuring of sight. I take a lot of close-up photos of natural forms and am interested in seeing the sublime in things that are normally overlooked. Some of these paintings have more specific concepts with source photos connected by narrative or subject matter while others are primarily formal abstractions. When images are transferred to the surface of a painting they become abstract forms, and I am interested in the variety of associations these forms evoke in different viewers. I don’t want for these paintings to become scavenger hunts for their source images, where a viewer ‘gets it’ and moves on, but knowing the sources can add a new layer of meaning and I am willing to reveal them to any viewer who is interested.
Once the formal elements are on the surface, there is a long process of abstraction in response to these forms. Although many of my source images come from nature, abstract paintings are in many ways unnatural, and my painting and color choices often feel very synthetic and graphic. I like to create ambiguous illusions of space and movement in paintings, and much of my painting process focuses on how forms interact with each other. These paintings are all very flat, but I like experimenting with different qualities of surface by using a variety of types and applications of paint. I also use a lot of line work to change how forms interact, and I like the sort of obsessive systematic process of outlining. My impulse to outline comes from my doodling habits, and working with pens relates to drawing and writing and adds to the graphic feel of these paintings.
Having all of these works together in a space is interesting and the hanging process made me aware of how they inevitably interact with each other. My experience with these paintings in the studio, working with them up close and one at a time, is very different from the way they look in a show. I would encourage viewers to look at the works up close and individually as well as how they interact together. Ideally I want viewing my paintings to be in equal parts a visual and visceral experience, and a more meditative associative experience, but ultimately it all depends on the viewer.
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Baker, Carson, "Senior Project Paintings" (2012). Senior Projects Spring 2012. 277.