Church Point, Little Compton, Rhode Island

“Paintings. Or the collapse of time in images.”

“Things are inert: that have meaning only in function of the life that makes use of them. When that life ends, the things change, even though they remain the same. […] they say something to us, standing there not as objects but as remnants of thought, of consciousness, emblems of the solitude in which ( we come to make decisions about ourselves).”
-Paul Auster “The Invention of Solitude”

“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”
- Pablo Picasso

“Painting has to get back to its original goal, examining the inner lives of human beings”.
-Pierre Bonnard

Paintings are many things.

These are landscapes. They are pictures of forms in the world. They are images composed while viewing the debris from glaciers that litter the intertidal zone between the land and the sea in New England. They are constructions based on those compositions.

The paintings of these views are objects with physical and colored surfaces. The ink drawings are without color and suggest a surface that is in reality an absence of material. They are all documents, records of experience. Seen collectively they become (auto) biographical and can be given a place in time and a location in space. Chronologically, the paintings bookend the black and white ink drawings.

The activity of their making and the references they point to can also be metaphors for a concrete physicality that is simultaneously obdurate and in flux. The rocks are massive yet fractured, as old as the earth but in a constant circumstance of wear and erosion.

As simulacra (I’m using that term at its simplest, but also with a nod to Baudrillard) made of fabric and paint or paper and ink the pictures are fragile. They will fade, crack, rot, and eventually disappear, all in a geological nanosecond compared to those clusters of granite and puddingstone resting in the light at the end of the day. “Resting” is the sense, as they are in motion, though at a pace that is too deliberate and inevitable for our flitting senses.

Metaphor describes by analogy. Something difficult to comprehend can be described by a reference to something more familiar or tangible. Painting, art making, can operate at any location on this path of associations of thought, emotion, sensation, and experience.

These references conjure up symbolic suggestions as well. Most image making does, of course, though a symbol is by its nature more abstract, open to interpretation, and resistant to definition.

At best, perhaps these things end as they begin, as qualia, which I’d loosely define as the ephemeral and tickling, but certain, sensations of the ineffable. It's the barely audible whisper, a suggestion of a scent, a memory hovering below the theshold of specific knowledge, but a tremor of full apprehension and comprehension nonetheless.

Todd Moore
December 2013
Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery, March 2014
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