This selection of recent paintings in egg tempera represent a period of searching. The temptation is to present them chronologically, to identify the concerns of each moment - to align them as a series of responses, a reflexive sequence. Or, to be more precise, that which they are not. These works are the products of what could only loosely be called ‘research’: more than anything else they represent a series of attempts to re-visit, re-new, and re-discover conditions and limitations for production in egg tempera. This includes considering pigment sourcing, support construction, surface finish, and framing. I consider myself to be a maker of objects. The challenge is to make that object, that matter, embody my project (political, artistic or otherwise).
I make painting-objects whose subjects dance back and forth across the threshold of representation. These recent works, not unlike much of my past work, depict provisional forms. They rely on the body, primarily the face, to form ‘moments’ of order in a chaotic nexus. This human presence, however minor, signals an archive: frozen registrations of a multitude of subjectivities channeled through a singular, biased channel (me). Bodily time is captured as a means of mobilizing the present. This narrative transformation in the context of work, which is essentially abstraction, is at best a falsehood: it always alludes to something central which was undecided from the first.
The mostly sombre palette of soil colours and carbonized bone, the historic techniques, the old wooden frames - the paintings reek of nostalgia and are steeped in the history of painting. By design, the works are formal and material aggregations, rather than compositions. The works make no claim to advancement or progress, one might even be tempted to say they are anti-progress. They assemble period styles in painting as haphazardly as they assemble materials. Ingenuity, invention, innovation are suppressed in favour of a simpler project: a temporal _derive_, that is painting as a state, as labour, as work.
Egg tempera is a very exciting and under-utilized medium which has tremendous potential for revitalization. The artist was primarily interested in tempera for it's organic, modular nature: (organic) the binder being animal protein can be produced and sourced locally with a much smaller environmental impact than acrylic mediums, and (modularity) because egg is the primary binder, the medium must be mixed frequently (if not every session). This means that the artist simply has to be the one who mixes in the pigment into the binder and makes the paint, controlling the amount and type of ingredients used. So, if the artist desires, the tempera's modularity provides another opportunity to source safe and natural materials. Some experiments in making pigments from locally sourced materials are also underway.