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Pamimpsest

 

2008. Wood carvings by carver Totem Shriver positioned between painted panels.

palimpsest |ˈpalimpˌsest| noun, a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain. figurative: something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.

 

The Palimpsest paintings are meditations on what one reveals and conceals. The artist creates, negates, cherishes and crushes, moved by a deep-seated need to assert, tolerate and celebrate as well as to obfuscate, even destroy. Indelible residues accumulate on the surface of the mind (and canvas), not quite haphazardly. The work is therefore analogical vis-à-vis memories, reveries, and doubts as one constructs an acceptable reality.

The paintings are made with acrylic and powdered pigment, charcoal rubbings, surface sgraffiti and variable densities of scumbled paint. Grooves are scratched and switched into the surfaces with twigs and branches. Form is atomized, dispersed. Gestural troughs are inked like intaglio etching plates. Scars weather openly as raw skeins of color. Gestures assert, sublimate, germinate, take root, fall out of sight and later emerge transformed.

Stray marks wriggle free in apparent limbo, a residue of inattention, doubt, neglect. Some are allowed to survive the next strata, some not— banished in a liminal state of convenient denial. Some are disambiguated or asserted—needing sublimation; others remain buried or transformed into the weft of necrotic keloids. The work is ultimately finished as a testament to its own archeology—a palimpsest. I wish to thank artist and woodcarver Totem Shriver for the opportunity to collaborate on a piece in this show. The decisiveness of his work has provided valuable counterpoint to my layered and equivocal means of arriving at a painting.

© Ronald Mills-Pinyas.  All rights reserved.

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