Patricia Aaron, Electric Spring
- Inland Sea
- oil and acrylic on canvas
- 60 x 60 inches
- The Endless Commute
- oil on canvas
- 60" x 60"
Stephen Shachtman, Red Monolith
- Exhibition: Expanding the Dialogue: Part Two
- Showing: October 5th 2016 - November 12th 2016
Expanding the Dialogue: Part Two features Colorado women currently working in abstraction, whose work has earned them a position of prominence within the Colorado art community. Women artists have historically been undervalued and underrepresented in the art world. This show aims to question and counteract this centuries-old trend, while simultaneously celebrating the expressive and direct nature of abstract art. Presented in conjunction with Women in Abstract Expressionism at the Denver Art Museum and Colorado Women in Abstraction at the Center for Visual Art.
Part 2 (October 5th – November 12th) features bold, expressive works from Patricia Aaron and Monroe Hodder, complimented by a collection from Haze Diedrich.
My recent series of new paintings, On Ice, was inspired by the nearly five weeks I spent in the country of Iceland as an artist resident this past spring. It was an electrifying experience.
I traveled non-stop around the island, venturing into and around lava tablelands, volcano fields, and boiling mud lakes, off-roading to the top of glaciers, traversing narrow one-lane bridges to see icebergs, and wading into the freezing icy-blue waters of the Northern Atlantic.
Each day, my hiker’s backpack was overflowing with mementos, including black beach rocks, bird feathers, fish lines, and driftwood. Since my return home to Denver, I have been hunkered down in my studio painting my favorite places and memories through the summer and into the early fall.
Painting for me is like a flight of reckless abandonment; at the same time, it’s like an intense game of chess. To be spontaneously and fully open to experience – just submerging oneself in it – and also to exercise focused discernment is a precarious proposition at best. But artists often choose the steep path and relish the painful climb. This task is made more difficult by the very nature of creativity, as it seeks to improve upon itself at every turn. The turn I have taken in my recent paintings is to move further away from the tradition of abstract expressionism, that seminal explosion that put American art on the world stage in the fifties. In my new work, I am seeking a radiant energy that allows for spontaneity, lightness, freedom, playfulness, and delight.
For me, decisions about color are always what come first. Color creates the tonality of my work. I have chosen to veer off the path of strong traditional colors. Instead I use dusky pastels, florescent pink and chartreuse, allowing textures and sensations of color to be in conversation with each other. These colors could seem too buoyant for the viewer who looks for a more subdued and serious palette. Yet, there is a sharp edge in the surface shapes that cuts like a scythe through the murky pastels below.
Space in my new work appears transparent. Moving away from modernist flatness, I create visible layers that allow one to see into the painting as a dimensional cube. Each painting begins with 30” x 30” quadrants of four acrylic colors. I work on top of these quadrants with layers in acrylic and then oil, playing on the change in quality between the two media. The final layer is the arcs and sprays that appear to come forward and give definition and movement to the work. These arcs seem to have floated free from my earlier stripe paintings, as if nothing ever really gets left behind. This structure allows me to create a pool of light and energy inside the painting that floats through transparent layers.
This transparency is fraught with pitfalls as each layer is visible. This year I have often tossed whole paintings in the trash if they did not blend through the open web to create layered cadences. As a friend and writer said to me, “Your new work is like looking through clear seas to find bright coral floating far below the surface”.
I often think of astrological events when working on my paintings. One work is named Transit of Venus, the tiny round shadow made when Venus passes directly in front of the sun. Contemplating celestial events can take us to a new awareness of movement and time. A great abstract painting may do the same. Artists engage in many different aspects of reality. I am drawn to the distant spheres of the abstract.
This series of work is based on observations from my daily experiences of living in Colorado. From my deck I see the whole Front Range and the changing colors based on light in the sky, in the water, and in the air. While skiing, hiking, and biking, I see the ever-changing light play with the mountains, streams, and trees. As an Abstract Artist, I am intrigued with how I interpret these observations. Some of these paintings are more representative than a lot of my previous work and it has been an evolving process to capture direct observations in an abstract format. I think abstract art allows for the universality of individual stories and observations to be presented in a way that allows the viewer to relate to the subject matter on a more personal note.
My working methodology is to use palette knives and rubber shapers for the vast majority of the oil paint application process. This process is refined with some additional brush work, followed by sanding and scraping through previous levels of paint. More paint is applied and then ultimately a few glazing layers tie all the paint films back together.