Closet Paintings 1995-2000
It was 1995, and abstraction was coming back. It was hard to find an artist statement that didn’t refer to fractals, but there were many other worldly referents such as industrial design, the graphic arts, and nostalgic elements of psychedelia. There also seemed to be a gender divide. The men’s work all seemed to be laser cut and cool, embracing Andy Warhol’s fear of hot paint. When women took abstraction up it referred to domestic motifs and biomorphism, and was often more tactile. Those split tendencies cropped up unprompted in my student’s projects.
In 1992 I curated a painting show for the Charles H. Scott Gallery in Vancouver, of work by men and women that I felt questioned that binary, called Painting Propositions. In 1995 I wrote an essay for another exhibition at that gallery for a show curated by Greg , called Type-cast, which also raised those ideas. I was very interested in painted abstraction and wanted to cross over the binary myself.
In Closet Paintings I wanted to mimic the fast look of a graphic gestalt, but embed it with a certain kind of laboriousness. Experiencing almost a déjà vu of my earlier work, I found that the process of starting from a blank canvas, with no referent or premeditated idea, was very hard to do. Under each painting were many other paintings, and for each painting the process felt like a nervous breakdown until it was finally resolved as an image.