Mycelium is an ink sketch that speaks to the sense of connection and the flow that I want this triptych to have. Nuphar variegata//spatterdock is a diptych, and includes organic elements from my time in Northwoods Wisconsin that will feature in my final piece. The two sketches from my time here in Europe are just two among many that I’ve been making, studying architecture and people, which both are really important in this triptych. Meander Cycle isn’t my most recent work, but I think it and my other pieces from Nature in Perspective display my experience and capability to execute large-scale paintings.
In the past, my work has been related to the place I’m currently living, like the plants and landforms in Central Wisconsin, or the Northwoods interactions between lakes, forests, and people. However, as I have spent time getting to know multiple places–my Illinois home, my campus community, the Wisconsin Northwoods, and now Florence, Italy–I feel that I have found several homes, and multiple places I love. This has created some complicated feelings about community. No matter where I am, a piece of me misses elsewhere: I’m perpetually homesick. Sometimes it feels like being torn apart as I tie myself to more people and places. I feel fragmented, but also increasingly connected to a wider world. I want to recognize the complexity of this experience through a triptych, likely using oil or acrylic.
I would love to use gold leaf or other metals as well. I have been thinking lately about Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, which uses powdered precious metals–gold, silver, and copper–mixed with binder to create areas of focus and a divine atmosphere. Precious metals indicate value, and these paintings are about aspects of the world that are deeply important to me, so using gold leaf seems fitting.
I have a 4’ x 4’ cradled panel that I made last summer, and I intend to make two rectangular panels (maybe 1’ x 4’?) to accompany it as a triptych. I know this sounds large, but I have done sizeable paintings before. My work tends to be stylized, succinct, and repetitive enough that I think this is an achievable scale.
The central panel will be reminiscent of a cathedral dome, with a main circular element with a series of vignette-like paintings within it. I want to reference people and places and plants that feel like home to me within the dome’s elements. The circular shape is tied to wholeness, entirety, and the divisions within it offer an opportunity to express segments of my life experience. It will have a sense of delicacy and be ornate, with small organic elements stylized similarly to grotesque patterns featured in some Renaissance paintings. These small decorative elements will tie together larger ideas, and underline certain points. Some elements I’m considering include the red pines and wild rice that are representative of the Northwoods, while others will be tied to my time in Europe, my childhood home, and my life on campus. These elements won’t necessarily be realistic, as much as stylized and expressive. My intention is not primarily the specific objects, places, and creatures, but the to express the emotions and connection I feel to them. To emphasize this emotional quality, I’m planning to use saturated colors, like Ruth Baumgarte does in her paintings, as well as deep dark hues like blue and grey to impose a kind of weight and depth. If you look at the examples of some of the artist inspiration I’m bringing to this project, a sense of motion is really important to this piece as well. This ongoing development of my relationship with a sense of home is a dynamic, moving experience, and a process. I want the painting to push and pull, like complicated, almost contradictory feelings, but also indicate that this is something with a sort of timeline.
Speaking of timelines, I’m hoping to develop my sketches by the end of the semester, and construct the accompanying panels over the summer. Since I already have the central piece ready to go, I should be able to start over the summer and finish the painting during the fall semester.
I want my work to have the energy and motion that I admire in Ruth Baumgarte’s oil paintings, which I saw at the Albertina in Vienna. I also really enjoy the bright colors that express motion more than “reality.”
Photo credit: ruth-baumgarte.com
I see patterns of these acanthus leaves in a lot of the art in Europe, including this maiolica pottery from Faenza. I really like the stylization, the organic elements, and the flow. I want my work to move as well, and I want to stylize some of my organic elements like this.
I love the luminosity of Rafael Salas’s oil paintings. His mastery over muted tones and tinted neutrals to make the bright colors he uses sparingly look absolutely stunning, even better in person than in this picture.
This dome in Palazzo Vecchio has both grotesque-style ornamentation and is similar to the kind of vignette-like scenes I want to make.
I love the color and the motion in this Murano glassware.
The gold and the splendor and the gravity of this painting draw me to it.
Photo Credit: Upper Belvedere Palace
I saw this painting (Bibliotheque/CDG-BSL by Corinne Wasmuht) in a museum in Nashville years ago and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It is almost 24 feet long and absolutely immersive. There are so many stories, so many layers, within it, but they are vague and fragmented ideas. It is a deeply immersive experience.
Photo credit: Corinne Wasmuht