September 14, 2014

"injambakkam"


"injambakkam no. 19" oil on canvas. 24" x 30






























These paintings emerged from time I spent at Cholamandal Artist’s Village in South India. This past winter Elisabeth and I spent five weeks there in a small studio belonging to the Indian painter Vishwanadan.

I spent a part of every day drawing and photographing the people around us: boys sharing bike rides after school and swimming in the temple tank. Women walking with their children. Fisherman mending their nets and launching their boats into the bay of Bengal.

There is still much of daily life in India that spills out into the street and becomes public. Friendships are more visible as are animosities. The rituals and rites of daily life play out before you. Shop keepers light incense and ring bells reminding the gods to pay attention. Homeowners sweep their houses and draw patterns in rice flour on the sidewalk as a gift to the eye and the ants.

In all of this there is, for me, a feeling of warmth and mystery: a sense that in all this activity something deep and beautiful and strong is at work. You don’t get at this “mystery” by going away from everyday life. Somehow it rises up through it and shows itself in small acts of mutual affection.

The drawings and photos from Cholamandal are the basis for these new paintings, which attempt to capture some of the warmth and mystery of my experience.

"injambakkam no. 13" 24" x 30" oil on canvas.

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These studio notes are scraps of poetry and ideas that feed my work as a painter. I hope they establish a bit of context for the paintings and my intention in making them. Whatever I paint, I’m trying to create some space for us to sit with the questions that are not meant to be answered.

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