Lately I’ve been making a series of collages, all roughly the same size—22×28″, sometimes a bit smaller or larger—and find it tough going. In abstract art the temptation is always to accept early results, and that question gets more complicated when the method is improvisational and the results organic, like mine. One has to persist until something new or unforseeable appears.
I think my Island paintings hit the perfect balance between stable, focused, complex composition and free, open improvisation, but I didn’t expect that balance to last forever. I can catch it again if the opportunity arises, but it was already beginning to move away around the sphere when I started pouring wet into wet. Right now circumstances limit me to collage, and I’m using it to find yet another balance. That means a lot of work changing, moving, painting, repainting, ripping up, reconsidering everything. No easy solutions. This one is a little more complex than the previous two, but it still has large, readable forms with strong identities. For that matter, the small details are not free—they have a place in the design, as I was lamenting earlier.
There are a few elements here I’m going to keep working with: the frame within the frame, figuration—as in the large black shape in the middle—and geometry, meaning straight lines—as in the lower left corner. Putting the figuration and the geometry together is what’s interesting.