Monday, November 25, 2013

ADDING SUBTRACTION (On the Benefits of Absence)

#1302, 24" x 24", Ink and watercolor suspended in polyvinyl resin glue on cradled wood panel

After testing a full grid of new formulas (#1301, previous post) my usual procedure is to weed out the weak results and replace them with new possibilities on another full grid. But an alternative priority entered my mind - - breaking the grid.

The grid is a function of the research process - - it allows orderly notation of the formulas for future reference. But it's also an essential element of the "meaning" of the work - - to lend a sense of order and rational categorization to a mysterious phenomenon (the self-determined expansion of the materials from the center of each liquid cell). A balance of order and chaos.

But the rigid square grid offers few possibilities for variation. Or does it?

The idea that came to me here was to simply subtract the less desirable formulas leaving arbitrary openings on the glue-bed surface. A vestige of the research grid remains intact but a new compositional balance emerges with variations that allow more complex relationships between the cells. Breathing room.

In what other ways can I break out of the square grid?

Next - The Hex Grid

Monday, November 18, 2013


#1301, 24" x 24", Ink and watercolor suspended in polyvinyl resin glue on cradled wood panel.

After hundreds of tests of new color combinations, the 49 most promising formulas were selected for the first "acid test" - application on a permanent glue bed. This piece will serve as a reference for the rest of the season, and will tell me whether more testing is necessary. Lackluster formulas will be weeded out and replaced, and under-represented hues will be noted and their number expanded through further testing.

There are promising results here. I like the variety of patterns - some scattered, some structured; some diffused, some dense. There's an overall impression of opening and closing across the grid, lending it a sequential feeling of animation and moving the eye. (click on image to enlarge)

I've already decided my modus operandi this season will be to let each piece suggest the next. This is the starting point.

Next - "Subtraction"