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In the Studio: Works in Progress

Here are two small works (8″ x 10″) in process. I have always enjoyed working on a small canvases and holding the piece in my hand as I work on it. There is also a freedom to experiment that is not there in much larger paintings.  

 

  

 

<About An Artist Discussion>

I think our culture is beginning to see the artist in all sorts of disciplines and pursuits. But I, myself, keep coming back to this very physical, hands on, direct and humble approach. It is undoubtedly an exuberant indulgence, but also a place to comeback to a registrar my experience and knowledge in the plasticity of a visual language bound by very clear limits. 

The opportunity to blog about the things I am invested in, as a part of the art making process, has been a good experience for me. I would hate to say that to understand my work (paintings) one has to read and know about all that I have done. On a basic level art speaks to its own experience and material. Beyond that you also need to bring something to it and you may want to choose to contribute to our visual culture.

<needing a two-paragraph bio – this is not it>

Just as in the past, when I engaged in an issue, I found that I couldn’t just study it I had to became apart of its family of knowledge. And because of this trait along with studying Art in a university setting I have worked in various visual disciplines. towards my interest to gain certain knowledge and towards the disciplines own practical ends. Regardless I’ve gained from all these experiences.

In the early 1990’s, at the time when the computer’s capacity and the democratization of the internet held great promise for a major shift in our visual culture, I jumped in. I became interested in the practical issues of how we move through or navigate this yet to be defined electronic space and orientate ourselves with in it. In my case this was framed by the forming of online learning communities of highly motivated learners, e.g., Doctors. Don’t get me wrong I recognize that much of the heavy lifting was already done by Tim Berners Lee. Anyhow….

I remember at this time interviewing with Grainger at their corporate headquarters in Lake Forest Illinois (designed by David Hansen of Perkins and Will) during the final phases of the buildings construction. They gave me a tour of the place. What struck me most about that experience was how well the architects organized this very large mall-like facility so that the individual’s immediate environment reinforced a spatial orientation to the whole. It made it very easy for someone who had no previous experience opperating in this space to intuit their surroundings and function successfully.

I took that bit of accidental experience and attempted to apply it to how I would maintain a user’s orientation on a learning website. For me this became a kind of geo-spatial issue of anchoring and extending knowledge. It meant organizing bits of information and knowledge in a particular pattern language relative to the whole. And yet more importantly to me I recognized that knowledge could have a spatial armature. 

Later, I began to address spatial issues found in the severely impaired built environment of East Chicago. I served as the director of the East Chicago Waterway Management District, overseeing the Indiana Harbor Shipping Canal (considered the most polluted waterway in the country). I can’t say that much of my work in East Chicago has been realized. I know I have had a strong contribution. There are many more social, economic and political issues that have impact and there are many reasons why communities like East Chicago fail.

None-the-less, whether your planning for the built environment or building an online community, the ends are very practical and require specific solutions that work. But now, after a lengthy period of working in these other fields I am putting images like these on screen and in galleries.

Categories: In My Studio
  1. April 4th, 2009 at 18:53 | #1

    I love that too – working small and being able to hold it, turn it, in your hand. I am now working on a 4 by 8 foot painting (two of them) and I almost feel like I could hold them in my lap, but of course, they’d crush me!

  2. April 5th, 2009 at 02:28 | #2

    I find this site comfortable, booklike – rare to find on the internet.

  3. April 10th, 2009 at 15:47 | #3

    Via Second Life I’ve been really learning how much like physical space virtual space can seem.

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