GRAY SCALE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

 

The Gray Scale Exhibition is a series of a dozen paintings made either on a paper surface or upon stretched canvas. Either way, all of the work was created using a broad range of mediums and tools. The actual painting of this body of work was done over a two year period in my studio high upon a mountain in Western North Carolina.

In keeping with my usual idiom, the Gray Scale Series was conceived to be a nonrepresentational (abstract) style of work, and I have employed a wide range of colors in each painting. The forms are both drawn and painted, and these shapes serve as the narrative (the subjective language of the compositions).

But my paramount effort in composing this body of work was to explore the meaning of "gray" and to investigate some of the infinite number of possible shades of gray colors. I have worked to push the full spectrum of colors into the darkest possible grays, both cooler and warmer, along with creating paler grays, which are sometime cooler and sometimes warmer. I was experimenting with "blackness" and also with "grayness" and the infinite shades and tones of gray in between.

Whereas science speaks of "black" or darkness as "the absence of light," the artist defines black as a color which is made by combining most or all of the darkest pigments in paint - plus the absence of the color white.

In addition to the abstract nature of these paintings, I have considered, as an additional subject of the series, the role of memory. I am interested in the way that the narrative of a painting may influence the type of memories and recollections which might be triggered.

Much like the sound of a certain melody can stir a distant a memory, and the aroma of a favorite food can stir a welcome memory of childhood perhaps. . . so too, can visual experiences conjure memories of times long past.  When we consider a photograph or a portrait; when we gaze upon a landscape or a still life; and even when we study the sculptures of historic persons or events. . . we are not merely considering the subject matter. 

We are experiencing some memory which has been triggered by the artwork itself.

It is also true that abstract art can also bring forth memories. In fact, abstract art may be the best vehicle for triggering memories, since the subject is largely left to the determination of the viewer.  With nonobjective paintings, the entire compositions can mean something different to each onlooker and each will remember an entirely different memory.

Thus, it can be logically inferred that abstract art is the most democratic of all the styles of art. Abstract art, at its best, can invoke and provoke unlimited recollections, and it can cause memories to surface which have been long buried. And it is this remembrance of times past which becomes invaluable when we are making choices for the future.