Closet abstract painter coming out / by jessica kirkpatrick


Most recently I have given up figurative narration in preference for abstracted landscapes.  The past few months I have desired to build a new relationship to paint, color and process that affords me opportunity to develop my own sense, for lack of a better term, of  non-representational painting.  I crave a wide spectrum of color and organic open shapes, in addition to a variety of marks speaking the language of paint.    However, an abstract/figuration dichotomy is ultimately false and so working from an initial image  propels a process.  I take great pleasure in painting observationally-- you are excused from making choices and can  mindlessly copy your perception, especially if using a  photo reference.  However, knowing i will paint over my little landscape study allows me to work with a measure of abandonment and levity.   Using gradients, scumbles, dry brush, quick or slow strokes i compose colors and shapes,  attempting to retain  the underneath landscape as a negative space. Here is one before and after shot.

Something significant has happened when land can be perceived as landscape
— Landscape and western art, by Malcolm Andrews

We are already divorced from nature when we begin to represent it through art.  A landscape occurs when art happens to land, we make aesthetic choices which positions nature as an object of pleasure, or too reflect  our human drama.  In making 'abstracted landscapes'  I aim to show the landscape painting genre as already artifice, a pure cultural product rather than a reaction to nature.   However,  nature is the ultimate sublime and genius of life, which I think produces that artistic impulse to make and play with form.  

I have a series of dramatic landscape photographs I shot on film that have been filed away for a decade.  My photos were kept in storage in a friends basement for four years and were damaged by moisture, which fortuitously created some interesting painterly effects.  To further emphasize an image/material contrast I have been painting Richter style directly onto these film photos, or over the glazing.