Thursday, December 18, 2008

Title: " December 14, 2008 "
Acrylic on Translucent Paper (Vellum)
35 x 35 inches

This piece sits on the fence between "painting" and "object", "finished" and "unfinished", "2-D" and "3-D". I like that it tries to avoid definition.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

" November 22, 2008 "
Acrylic on Canvas
46.5 x 47.5 inches
Locked into our DNA is a now unnecessary urge to identify whether the shadowy form in the twilight is a hungry lion or a visitor from a friendly tribe. (I say unnecessary, since today it is always wise to assume the lion.) With an abstract painting, once we realize it's 'just art' the potential power of the primal urge is watered down to a game of nostalgia. Abstraction continually struggles with how to keep the viewer in the present, to reconnect with that power, and to somehow deny that what we are presented with in paint is anything more than an artifact.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

" November 14, 2008 "
Acrylic & Paper Collage on Canvas
14 x 11 inches

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"November 11, 2008"
Acrylic & Paper Collage
on Canvas
14 x 11 inches

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Title: "November 5, 2008"
Acrylic & Paper Collage on Canvas
14 x 11 inches

After working about 4 days, more or less, on this small painting I began to wonder whether I had now started a painting, or finished one.
I had gone with a friend last week to see some impressionist paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago's collection. Since I had years ago painted landscapes exclusively, the urge to do a new landscape was very strong. That is how I started this piece.
But we are not in the 1890s, and I am not the same person, or painter, that I was 15 years ago. Art history and personal history cannot be set aside on a whim. So, after much work and considerable looking and thinking, this little painting emerged as you see it in the photo; continuing my "white painting" series that was started about 9 months ago. It seems to fit nicely into the route I'm on now, and ultimately there is a comfort in not retracing old steps. The landscape is under there somewhere, but an artwork can gain energy from going beyond what once seemed like a destination. This piece is finished, but it points the way to the ones not yet started.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

View of the current exhibit "The White Paintings 2008"
Closeups of some of these paintings are below in previous posts.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Title: " October 3, 2008 "
Acrylic and Polyester Fabric Collage on Canvas
46 x 55.5 inches

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Title: " August 6, 2008 "
Acrylic on Translucent Paper (Vellum)
6 x 4 inches

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Title: " July 17, 2008 "
Acrylic on Canvas
49 x 47 inches
(This one is still on the studio wall, just finished today. The flash from the camera in the upper center shows the glossy sruface.)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Title: " June 27, 2008 "
Acrylic on Translucent Paper
5 x 5 inches

Friday, June 20, 2008

Title: " June 19, 2008 "
Acrylic on Translucent Paper (Vellum)
6 x 4 inches

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Title: " June 14, 2008 "
Acrylic on Translucent Paper (Vellum)
5 x 5 inches

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Title: " June 7, 2008 "
Acrylic & Charcoal on Translucent Paper (Vellum)
5 x 5 inches

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Acrylic and Fiberglass on Canvas
32 x 46 inches

Friday, March 07, 2008

" March 5, 2008 "
Acrylic and Fiberglass on Canvas
54 x 48 inches
Third of the paintings using fiberglass sheet collaged onto the canvas. These change character as the lighting changes direction, intensity and quality. I imagine placing this first group of three paintings in a location where natural light can influence them through the day. This one, March 5, has yet to be put on its stretcher bars. It was photographed still stapled to the studio wall.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

" February 5, 2008 "
Acrylic and Fiberglass on Canvas
54 x 48 inches

Monday, February 04, 2008

This morning I was walking around the small lake near my home, before driving to the studio. I had grabbed the nearest shirt off the chair without paying much attention to it, but halfway through my walk I became aware of what an intense color of blue the shirt is. The sky was cloudy, which can always enhance color, and the lake was reflecting the same silvery grey of the clouds. Then a strange shift in thought happened.
I have been working for nearly a year on paintings which are either black and white or, recently, mostly white. People have asked me why I'm doing white paintings, so I've struggled to give them an answer. The answer never really quite seemed to fit though. Maybe only now are the paintings starting to reveal their real purpose. By looking at these white on white, textured surfaces, I am becoming more aware of colors, shapes, and surface textures in my surroundings, not just in the studio.
I now think this series of work is less about what you see WITHIN the painting than about what you see BECAUSE OF the painting. That answer seems more "true" for now. A new one, another acrylic and fiberglass on canvas, will be finished in a couple days, so we'll see then if that thought still fits. I'll post a photo and will enjoy your comments.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

" January 5, 2008 "
Acrylic and Fiberglass on Canvas
54 x 48 inches
(This painting builds on the "Translucent Series" by changing from working on paper to working on canvas. Also the grid element has been added by use of fiberglass in the large central area.)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Part 2: The Process of Painting

During most of the year 2007, I painted with only black and white acrylic on translucent cotton vellum tracing paper. I titled the body of work “The Translucent Series”. The majority of the pieces are small, either 6 x 4 inches or 5 x 5 inches. The most recent paintings were done with only white acrylic or white gesso.

These paintings are moving closer to my idea of the “shell of the cicada”. I think of each finished painting as the physical evidence of a creative process that begins before the painting starts and continues after it is done. In this process, the viewer becomes an active participant in the creativity by bringing his or her own life experience and interpretations to the painting. Rather than producing art that works like flashy billboards or popular advertising, the tendency of much contemporary art today, I prefer a subtler conversational approach.

In working with the Translucent Series I allow the mediums to function naturally, let the paper warp, let the paint pool and bubble and crack as it dries, and I try to remain open to what the painting might have to say in this “conversation”. This method produces paintings that also seem very open to what the viewers bring to them. It is work that does not exclude the viewers by trying to tell them something, but instead includes the viewers in a conversation full of questions.

Today I will begin work on a new series of paintings. Those results will show up on this blogsite soon.

Michael Cross