While exploring the use of the mundane as subjects I came across artist Jeffrey Cortland Jones. Typically pegged as a "white" painter, Jones tried to capture the variations of warm and cool, matte and glossy, painting white blocks on top of white blocks. creating a composition of subtle shades of white that aren't white at all. I am considering his work a variation of the mundane because his inspirations come from everyday scenes that can be broken down into a color block system.
Working mostly on a small scale, Jones attempts to create an intimate experience for his viewer. In his under graduate work he was working on a monumental scale, since he was being told that "bigger was better." After viewing a painting by Anselm Kiefer in person though, Jones reconsidered the issue of scale. He was highly disappointed that he could only get close enough to experience about a third of Kiefer's painting. He decided then that he wanted his viewer to be able to come up close and experience his work in it's entirety without the possibility of someone walking between the viewer and the work. An interesting way a to look at the question of scale.
Upon exploring Jones' website I discovered that, in addition to painting, he is also an avid photographer whose photos are without a doubt a launching point for his paintings. Focusing on the play of shapes and colors, light and shadow, even his photographs lend themselves to the simplicity of color block images. Several of his works are images very similar to my own, depicting the beauty of shapes and textures found in ugly, over looked places.
Another artist that a friend suggested I check out is painter Alison Moritsugu. Moritsugu is a Hawaiian born artist who strives to communicate the importance of how we look at and treat our environment and natural resources but depicting landscapes in the Hudson River style on actual tree stumps and logs.
Moritsugu creates a tension in her idyllic pastoral and landscape images by painting them on fallen logs - the very thing she is depicting. This juxtaposition forces the viewer to consider not only the beauty of the natural landscape, but also the evidence of its destruction. In addition, she is creating a very traditional two-dimensional painting on a three-dimensional surface that often deconstructs the the image - something that I have been exploring with my multi-panel paintings. When Moritsugu paints on multiple log surfaces she also activates not only the the area between the logs, but also the viewer's space since the logs protrude from the wall or the log itself.
Alison Moritsugu manages to create a variation of the mundane - a landscape - that forces the viewer to consider the innate contradictions that exist between the image and the materials, and the flat image surface that is depicted sculpturally on the very subject she is painting. A very interesting variation indeed.