Andrew Nordin: Artist Statement 2015 ~
I am invested in the problematics of painting. The pictorial and material choices, technical application, and various modes of presentation are the critical aspects I take responsibility for in my practice. While I believe the paintings I present are each evidence of an arrested happening, I also acknowledge that as works, they are hopeful propositions toward a longer dialectical approach rather than as examples of the endgame.
Years of working without settling down to take a position on whether to either more fully pronounce skill or accept an enchantment with provisional presentation has left a tension in the work. I am entranced with studying the glimmer and shine of cultural artifacts and master artworks from the millennia, while also practicing a “ramshackle” finish to my own works. This has catalyzed a tension in my intuitive response to materials. Also, it is satisfying to allow a painting a little freedom to diverge from the status quo of the body of work I have created, and this consistent inconsistency illustrates my imperfect, skeptical search for a dime-store sublime.
A longing for clarity compels me to spend time developing and researching visual compositions and surface treatments that can be applied to either traditional panels or more sculpturally aligned substrates. It also explains what might at first seem incongruent, finely finished surfaces in league with more casual approaches. It’s a process in which I am making things I want to see, and that tends to be a necessary exercise in failure, as my will to bring to form a scant visual notion using paint affects that mental example, resulting in the production of something completely different. And then it begins again.
The Ouroboros, a snake devouring itself, has been used as illustration and metaphor since at least the Greek era, allowing for a myriad of associations dealing with cycles, primordial unity, and self-reflexivity.
As a painter involved with abstraction, this idea of cyclicality, re-creating, and effort of gesture is something that I have been contemplating as a matrix for inspiration. I have been using the methodology of abstract painting to play with ideas about a “distilled gesture”, of notating eort between innovation on the canvas and use of pre-determinate sources or images. These pre-determinate sources have been things such as found pattern, photographs, pieces of wood turned into jigs to trace, and the placement of painters tape on canvas. It allows a starting point that requires less special decisions and I can trust that there will be a certain synchronicity that will happen.
This is the way I work in the studio: one painting inspires the beginnings of the next, and through a process of invention and editing, the nal form of the painting appears. One painting might explore a looping repeated gesture, while the next echoes what was happening in the negative space of that same composition. I like the idea of the Ouroboros as a way to describe the creative process, and the nature of abstract painting being inward looking.