The Eye is the Light

If I were going to write something about this new series of paintings, I guess I'd have to mention how very long I've been working on them. It's been something like a year-and-a-half since I started the Seasons paintings, though the work has been on and off. I'd focus on them for a few weeks or months and then set them aside. As often happens, the thing that led me to finally wrestle them to completion recently was that I had simply run out of other things to work on.

Painting on a round format was weird. I think this is probably why I kept putting it off. My work has always been about riding the line between composing and constructing, between painting and sculpture. Working on shaped canvases tends to result in paintings that are as much sculptural objects as they are paintings. But I'm always interested in working with image, illusion, and color, which are mostly painting things, not sculpture things.

Winter, acrylic on round canvas, 48" diameter, 2017

Winter, acrylic on round canvas, 48" diameter, 2017

Winter, the first painting in the series, operates on a pretty convincing illusion that the round canvas is actually a spherical form with a big tunnel running through the center of it. The dark interior of the tunnel frames a round opening through which a faceted spectrum of colors is viewed. I'm not sure I'm interested in trying to explain where the imagery comes from or what it means, but I do have a sense of some of the things that may have been working on me by way of influences or associations.

The oculus or round window in the dome of the Pantheon in Rome. Louis Khan's interior architecture, especially in the National Assembly Building in Bangledesh. Although this was sort of after the fact, the similarity to the CBS 'eye' is undeniable. Fontana's egg shaped paintings are literally pierced, whereas my paintings have an illusionistic opening. I can't help but read the spectrum of colors as a beach ball or beach umbrella.

I wanted the greatest distinction between exterior and interior. The husk of the form is blanched, dry, or maybe it's metallic and cold. In any case, the colors viewed through the window are incredibly vibrant by contrast. The spectrum is the stark, crisp light of a sunny winter day. The whole painting is like a big eyeball looking out on this light; as if the painting is your head and the round window is your eye.

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
— Matthew 6:22
Louis Kahn

Louis Kahn

Bond, James Bond

Bond, James Bond

The Pantheon

The Pantheon