I consider my painting to be a form of meditation. For me, painting is a way of drawing close to moments, and an attempt to pay homage to the fleeting beauty of everyday observations. Integral to this beauty is the sense of fragility, of transience, of impermanence, of our endless numbered days. Regardless of the subject, whether a figure or a moment of light in an interior, the sweep of a sky above an industrial neighborhood, the goal is, as Joseph Campbell once put it, ‘to reveal 'the radiance that lies hidden just beneath the surface of every day'. Feeling is paramount to me; I'’m hoping to use a brush to create poetry from mundane materials, and if the paintings resonate with the viewer in the eye, the heart, the gut, then I feel I've been successful in sharing some small aspect of my experience. In a day and age of increasingly mediated, monetized, and generally diluted and shallow contact with the real world, I find something worthy of reverence and rapt attention in simple quiet moments of light. An antidote, even. -Gage Opdenbrouw
I take scenes of everyday life—people, places and activities—and reduce them to their fundamental elements. I strip away the superfluous detail and minutiae of the moment in order to present each scenario in its essence. At a certain point, specific content is not that important or even relevant, but rather what appears to be going on, creating situations that can be observed or contemplated in more universal ways. This sense of ambiguity or vagueness allows for a range of interpretations and assumptions, for viewers to perhaps add their own content, emotions or undercurrents, overlaying what they think is happening with their own explanations. To heighten their engagement, I use texture to create a sense of dimensionality, a perception of three dimensions in two, thereby inviting viewers to 'step into' each composition as if they were actually there, and to participate in their own narratives.
Many of my paintings invoke feelings of solitude or even loneliness. The figures appear connected but often seem to be looking away from one another, absorbed in their own lives and stories, perhaps occasionally connecting, perhaps not, like strangers in the same scene. At other times, figures seem to be waiting for someone to arrive or for an activity to begin, anticipating a meeting or a reunion for instance. Whatever the circumstances, there's always an outcome awaiting discovery.
The ways I express feelings of solitude or disconnectedness in my open-ended plot lines are based on my own introspective moments as well as on assumptions about the subjects in my compositions. With my ever-present sketchbook, I observe alone, recording actions and interactions at a distance, working with whatever I can see, taking what little information is available and imagining the rest. So much is unclear, uncertain and not possible to observe. Blending in the settings—the trees, water, and other surroundings—I translate my observations into paintings, which in turn become the stories, stories we can either share with one another or ponder in our own unique and personal ways. -Sandy Ostrau
In my paintings, I strive to capture a place in the world. A place is many things and it is always changing, and my perception of it is constantly shifting, too. The ways that I capture it are not always consistent either. On the one hand, I represent a place’s appearance. On the other, I capture its sense, its feel, and its underlying social structures. A place is not a distant landscape for aesthetic consideration only. It has a presence and I am embedded in it. I represent this by evoking its physicality and the way that it surrounds me. As a painter, I also create a unique place on my canvas. This place has its own logic. And it looks back. -Andrew Walker Patterson