BUFFALO/ROMA

A time-based process with lots of rules

This series of abstract paintings explores the almost instantaneous erasure/replacement of moments; even those we feel are repetitive and commonplace.   It looks at the motion of life and asserts that our memories of past moments are always changing based on subsequent experiences.  I recently heard a quote that suggested that it is not our actual experiences that are our life, but rather the way we remember and recount the experiences are the sum of our life. 

PROCESS

I filmed my typical drives throughout Buffalo and her suburbs.  I set the camera on the dash board in order to capture what I see as I drive.

  1. I juxtaposed my video of a drive with a clip from Fredrico Fellini’s film, ROMA.  This film is virtually plotless, and the only developed character is the city of Rome itself.  I have a personal attachment to Italy and Italian filmmaking, and it has led me to consider the use of film in painting.   

  2. After juxtaposing my videos, I set about creating the physical painting.  It involves working in “real-time” while watching the video.  I watch the video four times; each time, I change my working method.  Not only do I react to different visual elements differently, I react to the video based on my previous reactions and recorded observations.  I divide the working surface in half – the left side is my Buffalo drives and the right side is from a clip of ROMA (I let the sides overlap in order to create harmony between the two.

  3. I record my first observations in pencil, keeping my eyes on the screen almost constantly.  I am seeking outlines, recognizable architecture, and graphic elements. My second observations are recorded in washes of thin acrylic; I am looking at large color forms and overall mood of the video.  My third observations are recorded in sharpie pen; this is where it becomes really interesting.  After watching the film twice already, I have a sense of what I might seek out, what I might like to say with the piece.  My third viewing is influenced by all the previous viewings, and it begins to alter the way I perceive my past experiences with the film itself, not to mention that my memories of my typical drive are now altered irrevocably by the repeated viewing of video and the subsequent art-making.  My fourth set of observations is done in thicker acrylic paint; this time, even though I again carefully watch the video, the creation of the artwork is paramount.  I think almost exclusively of what is on the page already, seeking out moments in the video that will make good compositional elements, add to a narrative, create structure and/or tie together color harmonies.  

  4. Each video is between 6 and 12 minutes long – meaning that I have no more than 48 minutes to create a painting.  I feel at the end of the painting, having digested and interpreted so much information so quickly, that none of the moments actually existed at all.  They were all replaced instantaneously and altered at the exact moment of their conception.   I hope that in viewing these works, they can never really be viewed the same way twice.  The viewer’s eye will always move differently through different elements; seek out new marks and connect moments differently.