I began this new series of abstract, hard-edged oil paintings in the pandemic of 2020 to express my desire for closeness and meaning in a time of isolation. The pandemic has created loneliness, distance from and longing for loved ones, and feelings of uncertainty and emptiness. It has created a time that seems endless while also making us feel as if time doesn’t exist. But, it has also offered new beginnings for many of us. For those of us in isolation, it is a time for self reflection, for starting new projects, for discovering new directions in our work.
Compositionally, I am painting the space in between and around forms, as much as the forms themselves. The composition and shapes I use on the canvas convey negative and positive spaces that alternate: sometimes the dark color recedes into a void, a nothingness; at other times, the darkness becomes the subject and the gradients of colors become the background. The gradients are a gradually dawning or dimming light source, an expansion, and a fleeting moment of time. The shapes come close to touching but don’t; there are tension and longing in that sliver of space between them.
I work intuitively, painting the initial linework and shapes on canvas stretched over wood panels or stretcher bars. I often apply a blended gradient of bright and/or complementary colors, and a solid black made from a mix of deep blue and red oil paint. During multiple reworkings, I fill in the shapes with these colors, repainting everything in several layers and refining the edges as I go. The resulting paintings evoke the ambiguity and emotional disquiet that we are all living through in the pandemic of 2020.