Saturday, January 28, 2017

Braided Paintings

And now for something different...

May 2015: I had a vision that combined my work and that of Fred Sandback. His ideas of splitting space with one string of yarn quite fascinated me. Such simplicity, and such force of space. At the time I was living in a small town in Pennsylvania with a ground floor that was unfinished. I had this vision quite early in the evening, and felt I could immediately try my hand at making what my vision had given me. I went downstairs after grabbing some yarn, a couple eye screws and some paint. In the back of the space was a perfect place to begin my development of this new thing in my life. Nice thing about having that place was I could set it up and not have to worry about it coming down in 3 weeks. Finding the mark in the middle of the room, I began to go to work. Stringing yarn through the two eye screws, I felt once I had about 4 strings between the ceiling and floor, that it was enough to go on for the first piece. Nice thing about the eye screws is you can set your own tension, and if you know about the yarn work I have been doing since 2014, you know it has a lot of tension in the work. Once I had set the tension. Standing on a makeshift stool was quite good for what I needed at the time. Able to see the work from all kinds of angles is what I love about working on my art. I have the chances to see it in so many ways that others will never get to. It also makes me feel for those who have to view my work in a public venue, you always have to go by what they put out there in their gallery rules. But you come visit me, you'll see the work in 20 different ways.

Once the yarn was all ready and anchored correctly. I began painting upon it, a yellow textural paint upon a baby blue colored yarn. It was quite the nice color combination. One day I'll make this work again, except this time I think I'll use the poly rope that I've been using lately.

Months later. I was thinking about painting in general, also thinking about how some artists are very resourceful in finding new materials to make into their artwork. I was thinking about Richard Tuttle and his rope pieces. As I was thinking of the visual of this small rope piece behind the door at his collectors home. Super simple but with a voice that says, 'here I am, if you don't like it, go away.' I admire the man and his work like these, he really put himself out on a limb and didn't fall off. I began to wonder if I could ever make work that small and potent.

It wasn't long after that evening, I truly began putting together in my head what would make a work that gave the nod to Tuttle but was also something of mine. There are so many little things you need to think of when trying to create something new for yourself. One thing was to try to paint on a piece of rope, something that moves back and forth, something that frays over time, something that might be hard to attach to a wall, how to still keep the painting once the work has dried and had attached itself to the substrate behind the work itself. I didn't want to paint these directly on a wall only for it to never be allowed to be removed without ruining the painting. That's not good for someone in a small space.

Speaking with a fellow painter, Deb Covell in England, she was telling me about her paintings she had been making out of 'paint skins'. She mentioned the plastic that covers her floor which allows the paint to peel up once dry. Upon hearing that I remembered painting my poured paintings on a sheet of plastic tarp. Even though it was a pain to paint upon when you are trying to move a wooden stretcher around. The paint would pull up from the plastic surface creating some cool extras. It helped me remember things I had done in my past where I was inadvertently using plastic sheeting to help keep the paint off what I was painting on....tables, floors, etc.

March 2016. I made my way to the hardware store. I won't mention the name because they get enough publicity. :D Found the aisle where the ropes are, found some manila rope in 1 inch thickness.

Bought 2 ft of it to try out. Took it home and began doing what I could to make sure it lasted long into the future. One thing I always make sure of when making new works is to make sure to seal things in Acrylic medium, as it's a great protector for the future, it's flexible too so it's a good way of future-proofing the work. As you can see in the above photo.

Will continue later......

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Columbus, Ohio, United States