This body of work offers an expanded perspective on the ideas of my previous series, The Being Series. That work paired, side by side, abstracted concepts of the physical and the metaphysical. It brought together my perception of earthly conditions and natural processes, with an intangible fundamental creative energy that is the source of those processes. Presented as diptychs, that work is an interpretation of those two concurrent states of reality, through the contrast and intellectual unification of them. The Grace Series directly blends the two comprehensions into each other, establishing an actual merging, in place of a comparative one. While this work remains conceptual abstraction, it now leans toward the experience of the synthesis, rather than the intellectualization of it.
Most have known, at some point in their life, a shifting between our familiar worldly consciousness, and a more expansive spiritual awareness of interconnectedness that is harmonious, non-linear, and beyond specifics. Many also recognize that we are living in both levels of reality and consciousness simultaneously, as they are ultimately one state of being. These paintings present an abstraction of that coexistence.
The elements of the work that demonstrate physical reality are built of reactive, gestural, and expressive mark making. I make decisions based on my interpretation of natural processes and conditions, which are largely inefficient and unpredictable. For this reason, I try to remove my actions from comparative judgments and considerations of design. The accumulation of marks is not random, but forms out of tension and growth rather than traditional abstract methods of composition and balance. I refer to this way of painting as relational inefficiency. It demonstrates the connected, yet erratic and unstable nature of physical existence. It entangles formation, destruction, and renewal. It is an accumulation of activity and emergent properties of its own evolution, removed from ideals and expectations.
While these conditions of material being are time contingent, the spiritual domain functions outside of a reactive or linear notion of time. The essential creative energy that is the source and perpetuation of the universe is, in the work, interpreted as a constant. It is depicted through controlled washes and veils that both fuse with the activity and form a reflective, continuous, and semi-opaque surface. These layers are not a covering, fossilization, or reduction of the activity. They are meant to stand for the awareness of an always present component and source, that is generative and pre and post exists any activity. As the layers accumulate it can take some effort to see the activity through them. I acknowledge that there is more truth in what we can’t see than what we can. What can’t be seen, but that we can know and connect with, is analogous to our relationship with a higher spiritual reality.
The paintings are often dark, but are not meant to be melancholy. When I choose to work with dark colors I do so for their sense of depth and seriousness, but not in a tragic way. The dark colors can create an intimate exchange between the absorption and radiance of light, that for me causes an affirmative and comforting feeling. I also work with light and mid value greys. The veiling of darks with the lighter values creates the perception of a sound permanence, much like stone.
It is natural when viewing the paintings to shift focus between the stability and the activity, or the metaphysical and physical associations. The viewer is offered both at the same time so that they can be perceived as one reality. My intention is to lead the viewer to a meditative, active quiet. This is not a silence arrived at through absence or a reduction of cumulative process. It is a conscious state that results from an accumulation of activity. This deeper equanimity arises when the mind becomes so aware of the fusing of realities that it no longer perceives contrasts as separate.
As a body of work the paintings share this aspiration and content, yet each is created to stand on its own. The outcome of layers of relational inefficiency is by nature unique. The subsequent build-up of washed layers causes reciprocal effects that lead to further individual results. However, as a collection, the paintings are visually bound together by the monochromatic stability of their metaphysical layers. Viewing the paintings as a group can be a reflection on a complex interaction of growth, time, energy, and permanence. The Grace Series is a spiritual contemplation of the merging of a succession of exclusive moments, with an indivisible and constant creative source.