Plasticity in art has historically referred to the materiality of the art-making process – the tangible, malleable “product” as a physical form.
Post-Modern thinking about art-making has sometimes rejected the importance of physical form as an end product. However, as often as painting and other traditional art forms have been declared “dead,” they have been proven very much alive in the hands of many artists.
That is not to say that the manner in which traditional plasticity has existed in a classical sense has not been challenged – it has, yet artists have shown over and over again that the materials that they work with can and do have a significance. The process of working with material (the plastic arts) continues to hold an immense attraction for some artists, who experiment, rework, manipulate, modify and refine their media until they become expert alchemists in their self-created niches.
PLASTICITY features four of these artists who are not only notable for their specialized abilities in working with their chosen materials but who also, very specifically, work with forms of plastic.
My painting/sculpture combinations incorporate a dialectic approach to meaning. I create a thesis in the form of a painting and an antithesis in the opposing sculpture, or vice versa. I am interested in the synthesis of information that arises from their close proximity. In some cases the paintings provide context for my sculptures in the form of maps or floor plans. In other works the paintings act as a foil for the sculpture. The painting becomes a geometric abstraction whose composition is derived from the elements contained within a representational sculpture.
My paintings appear to be traditional abstractions in the tradition of western art. They do come out of that tradition, which I have studied and worked in for most of my education. However, the elements in these paintings come from East Asian pop culture and its extreme joining of cuteness and violence, sweetness and sexiness, and many other contrasts. This can be seen in my sweet colors and thick sections of impasto, which look like something you want to eat, but if you eat too much, it will make you sick. The paintings and installations make you think about plastic and its seductive sleekness. I also find the repetitive motion very meditative, similar to the poet who repeats his or her words for emphasis. I feel I can paint this mix because I myself am an ongoing translation from one culture to another.
My painting deals with something I call “landscape backwards”. Abstract shapes and forms are inclined toward reality and encouraged to resemble it to some degree. Abstraction is no longer the difficult thing we thought it was. We now know that it is an intrinsic aspect of the way we feel, see, and think.
I am also interested in what is in front of as well as behind the surface of the painting; the area of space which is like an envelope containing the visual activity which holds the painting’s meaning. I use plastic materials to generate the perceptual activity of form called “plasticity”.
I work from a place of curiosity about something that is mysterious to me. I set up a process in which complex color and pattern can arise, or “happen”, analogous to processes of nature. Even so, I do seek particular kinds of results. I strive to condense an essence or distillation of energy within the form of pattern and color that resonates with the experience of emotion, spirituality, time, and intellectual beauty. In my work, associations have been made with energy fields, music, quantum and string theories, land and seascape, weaving, genetics, etc. However, I don’t want to limit the viewer to a particular way of seeing.
To me, the plastic material (colored acrylic plastic, commonly known as Plexiglas) is simply paint, but in solid form. My “brushes” are the bandsaw, tablesaw, glue, and a polishing machine.