Failed Attempts in the Act of Falling Up is a series of self-portraits of the falling figure.They reproduce my body through light alone. As an historical tool in the western tradition, light yields form by describing an edge or a boundary in an otherwise dark or “empty” space...
Failed Attempts in the Act of Falling Up is a series of self-portraits of the falling figure. They reproduce my body through light alone. As an historical tool in the western tradition, light yields form by describing an edge or a boundary in an otherwise dark or “empty” space. This can be a psychic space. It was often a divine space. In either case, this is a generative space in which all possibility exists simultaneously until that fluidity is circumscribed into the legible and the delimited. (This is the Psychocene.)
In contemporary conversations around identity, the form that emerges from that space can be conceived of as “category.” Whereas in the past, light did the work of God and referred back to the ideal, light now does the work of ideology, and refers back to expectation. What should a body look like? How do we expect to see a vessel that confines the soul?
These monochromatic paintings use a rag reductively to find my form in that psychic space. Where the light hits the body, a hard line forms. And where that body recedes back into the space of possibility, a soft, imperceptible transition obscures. Indian and Naples yellow combine to produce a color field wherein the transition from yellow to white optically quivers. Even the hard edge jumps—is hard to pin down.
If art is the act of reworlding—and of rendering metaphor—then these self-portraits act as mirrors. Painting them is a literally painful process that burns the retina and causes eye strain. In each piece, especially those that are larger than life, my field of vision is entirely yellow. It’s in this space that I search. For all that I’ve known of myself, I can only reproduce the categories assigned—over and over again, and face them as descriptions to reckon with. Abstracting the body, removing the assured ground from beneath that body, and blowing out the form with intense light all push the limits of representation and recognizability. The tension is that if one searches long enough—even as the hard line dances and the soft edge blurs—eventually, what we expect to see reveals itself.