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Circular Obfuscation

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The seed for this series was a rusty old object I found lying on the ground way back in the early nineties. It was a circular object composed of rings of some sort with spaces in between that were filled with an open textured material of small circular holes. It was dirty and falling apart, folded over on itself and squashed flat. I carried it home and kept it for a long time thinking that I would incorporate it into some art. It lived in my studio for years, and I often kept it displayed in an area where I could see it. I spent alot of time looking at it, picking it up and turning it over, trying to think of something to do with it. I think I did eventually use it in a painting several years later, either that or it's buried somewhere in my studio. At any rate, the object appealed to me so much on a purely visual level that I've never stopped thinking about it.

The works at the left here begin with the newest in the series and get progressively older toward the bottom. I began by referencing the texture of the mesh and built the first work (the last on the page) around a section of that. What interested me most at first was the texture, the surface and the idea of accretion and decay. Then, while sorting detail photos of the first painting, I decided I'd really like to enlarge the circular mesh texture to make it more the focus of a piece. This resulted in a more simplified ordered second painting with two main components: the grid of circles and loose brushy paint. Again, the details of the work made such an impact that I decided to continue following the theme. This time, I was struck by what an interesting composition could be made with just a few circles, so I blew things up even further and crammed it all into a taller, thinner space. The resulting painting I built up by laying down thick layers of translucent acrylic to define the raised areas between the sunken circles. Playing with large round forms on a restricted space was a fun challenge that I continued exploring in the diptych. I used layers of more translucent paint this time to reveal and occlude smaller circles underneath. The diptych, I thought, had more levity and movement than the prior circle works, and this went along with the direction much of the rest of my work was taking at the time. I'd started to consciously incorporate elements I had mostly avoided for years like prettiness, sweetness, silliness or humor and awkwardness. At that point, it seemed the reasonable thing to do was to to toss it all into the mix and see what came out. What came out was "A Jester In The Pulpit" and "A Jack And Some Asses". In retrospect, these two works are an amalgam of many of the elements I've used in the past and many of the more recently introduced elements.