Round the Old Campfire 2014. Digital painting. Size variable.
Round the Old Campfire is a song we sang when I was at sleep-away camp over 50 years ago. People have gathered around campfires for thousands of years. Some of those people picked up charcoal sticks and made marks on cave walls. I make my marks with a Mac and software. Still singing and trying to stay warm.
Recently I have been trying to simplify my pictures and have been working in a more abstract vein. Inevitably, it seems, complexity creeps in. The pictures always end up evoking something or someone in the everyday world. One of the things I keep telling myself is that every instance of the particular manifests the universal. Perhaps it is also true that the universal only manifests through the particular. One thing is for sure, making these pictures gets me to a different place in my mind. Hope something similar happens when you look at them.
Below is a selection from a series of spirals. (As always, click on the thumbnail to see a larger jpg)
Below is a sequence of images called a walk in the woods. As usual, the imagery (and the narrative) came as a complete surprise to me. The first picture is a kind of entrance and then the next is perhaps the heart of the forest. The third reminds me of a climb up a hill. There seem to be many nest-like structures in the weird trees. And then, low and behold, I get to a spot where a cross appears. This is perhaps the biggest surprise, since I am a Buddhist. But, I am from the West, so as Jung pointed out, you can't really do much about where you're from. The last and most complex picture is, in essence, a summation of the others. The dynamic composition suggests that perhaps there is no end to this particular walk.
I sometimes make fun of myself by using the phrase "like a blinding flash" to describe a moment of "realization". Usually I'm referring sarcastically to a thought about something obvious. In the case of the digital painting below, I really mean it. As I've stated elsewhere on this blog, I have been fooling around with a $20 fractal generator, Fractal Domains. I don't know anything about the math of fractals, so when I plug numbers into Fractal Domains, I'm flying blind. I don't know what's going to pop-up on the screen when I hit the return button. And that's good from my point of view. I'm doing this because I don't know what's around the next corner, which keeps it interesting... for me, at least. When this image appeared, it was, in fact, like a blinding flash.
Like a blinding flash, 2014. Digital painting. Size Variable
When I manipulate fractals in Photoshop, I work in layers and experiment with the possibilities of interaction between them. I just completed a series of 10 pictures based on the same fractal image (created with Fractal Domains software). The difference between the images results from the way the Photoshop layers interact. Here are 5 of the 10 images. These are meant to be printed fairly large... 64" on the width and ideally, all ten would be displayed together.
The fire this time (1), 2014. Digital painting. Suggested size 64" wide
The fire this time (2), 2014. Digital painting. Suggested size 64" wide
The fire this time (3), 2014. Digital painting. Suggested size 64" wide
The fire this time (4), 2014. Digital painting. Suggested size 64" wide
The fire this time (5), 2014. Digital painting. Suggested size 64" wide
Below is an example of the odd spacial things that can happen in fractal land. To find this kind of stuff you have to look around the edges of the fractal and zoom way in. This particular piece was finished by manipulating three layers of the same image in Photoshop. There are two other versions with different palettes. One of the things I am currently doing is limiting my image manipulations to the overall, edge to edge. From the Buddhist perspective (or the ecological) this refers to the interdependence and interpenetration of all things in one great web of relations. Whatever subsidiary shapes and colors emerge are a result of the defining fractal math and the edge to edge manipulation of layers.
a little traveling music, 2014. Digital painting. Size variable
The posts above and the speak peace may represent the start of something new. I never know. The test is if I keep doing the new thing for any length of time. In any case, this is essentially a refinement of what I have been doing for a while. I'm focusing on what can be done with fractals and Photoshop manipulations and eliminating overlaid 3-D shapes etc. So for the time being, at least, the Triple Zero figure has been zeroed-out. Another way of looking at this, is that instead of creating indeterminate narratives around Triple-Z, I am making pictures that find their own narratives, some of which I have visited before. For example, I did a study for a painting to be called "speak peace" around 30 years ago. It didn't get painted then. I was quite surprised when it appeared on my screen yesterday in a different form.
speak peace, 2014. Digital painting. Size variable.
Strange and Uncertain 2014. Digital painting. Size variable.
This painting is different from most I have been doing recently in that it developed over a 10 day to two week period and has a non-centered composition. It still makes use of fractal and 3D elements, but the fractals are used in sections of the painting rather than overall, edge to edge. In many ways Strange and Uncertain is a continuation of a series of abstract paintings I made a few years ago. Those paintings can be seen elsewhere on this blog (May - October 2011).
Another new one. Thinking about the big bang. Occurs to me that it happened in absolute silence since there was no one there to hear it. Strictly speaking there wasn't even silence. That's something we invented. Of course, now we can hear the big bang as noise picked up by a satellite. Which is interesting. The sound of creation is noise. Anyway, this is the kind of stuff that sometimes passes through my mind when I make these pictures. The moral of this story is: when thinking of the beginning (or any of the other "big questions") it's best to keep an open mind. Otherwise, you'll be pretending to know what you don't. And you'll miss out on some interesting thoughts and experiences.
Nobody Knows, 2014. Digital painting. Size variable.
Something I just finished. As often happens with my work, a specific person came to mind as the picture began to take form. In this case my late father, Edwin, who was the person who got me started on this crazy path called Art. He was not given to wasting words...
April Song (in memory of my father). Digital painting. Size variable.
Trying out a new format. This image and Dragon (see below) make use of some new capabilities I just discovered in the fractal generating software I've been using: Fractal Domains. These new images are meant to be printed at 80 inches wide on a translucent substrate to enable backlighting.
Out of Nowhere. Digital Painting. Dimensions variable (up to 80 inches wide).
Here are a few images from and a couple of rough videos of my exhibition Walking the Changes at the Theo Ganz Studio in Beacon, NY. www.theoganzstudio.com
The show centers around two installations. Each consists of 12 digital images projected onto a wall mounted sculpture. The larger of the two installations is 56 x 56 x 4 inches (not including the projector.)
There are also several prints in the show including Anima Redux and Greetings Fellow Earth Creature which are posted below. (Remember clicking on a thumbnail image will reveal a larger jpg.) Another piece, which consists of 12 images from a series I did a few years ago called Anima Dream, is displayed on a high res monitor at Theo Ganz. Jpgs of the Anima images can be found elsewhere on this blog.