Touching the Abstract

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Touching the Abstract - City College NY Exhibit, 2014
Touching the Abstract - City College NY Exhibit, 2014
Touching the Abstract
Curated by: Omo Misha

Amsterdam Avenue @ 137th Street
New York, NY 10031
June 23rd, 2014 - July 13th, 2014

The City College of New York


Touching the Abstract | paintings between paintings by omo misha

I am awed by artists and writers who are driven wholly by imagination: Abstract painters, passionately led by mood and color and, by the same token; fiction writers, beautifully fabricating tales that enthrall us for lifetimes. As a creative person, in both images and in words, my work has remained representational. I translate lived experiences, knowing that the singular imaginative element of my work is my voice. I understand this to be a gift - my gift - and that, at heart, I am but a journalist who expatiates through both visual and literary renderings.

Comfortable within the perimeters of what I know and do best, I have long understood that I have very little ability to create from pure imagination. And, while I view this as more of a niche than a limitation, I must admit that it has become a recent, personal endeavor to find my abstract expression.

As a portrait artist, focusing primarily on living and historical figures, I have used my work to tell personal, political and historical stories. The intensity with which I must approach a work in order to respectfully capture an individual, relay their story and employ all the technicalities of fine art painting, makes for a process easily comparable to childbirth. Each painting presents its own challenges, especially as I am striving to achieve an intensely specific vision. And, at the onset of every undertaking, despite the number of times I have succeeded, there is never a reliable confidence that the goal in mind is actually attainable. A certain level of low-grade anxiety accompanies the start of each

painting, born almost entirely from an aspiration to bring justice to my subject. Indeed, there are failures - some salvageable over time, and others publicly unseen. This comes with the territory; the process of developing deeply personal and intentional art.

But, what if I could temper these acutely tailored goals with aimless acts of visual expression? What if I could learn to create with less thinking? What if I could paint between paintings? Not claiming that I could ever be a pure abstract artist, what if I could simply touch the abstract? These were the inquiries leading to this exploration – a multi-year progression of painting between paintings, and loosening controls to unearth my natural abstract voice.

These works have been inspired by space - earthly and galactic - and built upon joyously slippery foundations of lawless experimentation. I have long admired the fathers (and mothers) of abstract expressionism, and I am sure their traces have guided me. But, I have been further encouraged by the work of many of my local contemporaries - Al Johnson, Shinique Smith, Dianne Smith, Diane Davis, Yukako, et al. - whose commitment to abstract painting has sparked my adulation. On my artist's journey, this newfound articulation is, again, only touching – broaching and created in reverence to – an unbridled genre and on its way to...somewhere...

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