Paintings of rural decay
Recently, I have been more interested in the use of visual source materials, mainly my own photographs, and the potential to translate those images quite clearly and simply, without much improvisation. Art Critic James Elkins writes about this notion in his book “Six stories at the end of representation”, in which he describes the definition of threshold as it relates to the point in which a picture gives way to what is taken to be unrepresentable. He relates the etymology of the word sublime as meaning “up to the threshold”. This, to me, is the area of painting I am investigating, and with this project, illustrating: The sublime feeling when confronted with the stark nakedness of rural decay, and how it can translate into abstract painting.
There is also a threshold that is tread upon daily in the rural landscape, the area between city and country, or nature and civilization. During my daily commute through west central Minnesota, I am aware of some of the signifers of this threshold: Bare buildings, farmsteads, shed and barns, and utility buildings. There is another contrast, that of economy, wealth, and lack thereof, and one great example of that tends to be material decay, of buildings, their structures, and the decoration of them that exists or used to exist. With this work, a range of compositions are generated, from minimal to hard-edge, as well as the act of engaging in painterly surfaces and all-over gestures leaning towards action painting.