Bacchus / Sgraffiti
2007 Acrylic on canvas. Artist statement below images.
“...the sense that my self is not me as a human being, but that I am rooted in a whole matrix that includes all of nature, the planet, the cosmos itself.”
~Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche
The Bacchus / Sgraffiti Series is so named in part because the work is to be exhibited at the famed italian Bacchus Gallery Restaurant in Santa Ana, Costa Rica, and because the substrates of these paintings are composed of heavy acrylic paste into which I have introduced flurries of scratched grooves and markings (sgraffiti). This initial stage is performed as a kind of joyful, delirious, half-blind dance, a painted bacchanal, if you will, as I frenetically drag and scribble twigs and branches in the paste; more gesture than drawing, per se, the unstretched canvas on my studio floor provides an arena, a surface on which to celebrate previously unrealized complexity. The sgraffiti marks form a matrix of intricately textured grooves that inspire subsequent layers in which passages are subdivided, veiled and backlight as I seek a sense of complex luminosity reminiscent of patterned light glimpsed through a forest canopy.
More generally, the Bacchus / Sgraffiti Series continues my fascination with fixing in paint seemingly indeterminate moments in which the aleatory is transmuted into fleeting shapes, dazzling fictions created by the wandering, gazing eye as it leaps here and there, imaging non-existent continuity much like a melody composed of distinct and separate notes; the eye assuming what it doesn’t see, seizing on scant evidence — and it returns back again to the concrete. Breathing in and out. Solving and dissolving again and again. Painting is for me a form of metaphysical healing characterized by surrender to a higher level of energetic coherence, to the immense field in which we are embedded and of which we are incarnated. Spirit reminded of its flesh; flesh reminded of its spirit.