Shifting Borders: Realignments, Fall 2006 series
8.5 x 8.5 inches, 10.5 x 10.5 inches, and 23 x 23 inches
Watercolour and mixed media on paper
(Including waxed paper, oil pastel and oil bar)
When I try to define the value of imperfection, I often think of work that has a certain presence (character, or even ambiguity), and that presence may be enhanced by signs of the hand, evidence of the maker (or process marks). Sometimes if an object is too perfect, it feels closed and paralyzed – it doesn’t invite further engagement. It can’t sustain attention…. Japanese potters made purposefully awkward tea ceremony bowls that specifically address the idea of imperfection, inviting the holders to complete the form, or further, to imagine a perfect form for themselves. “Re:Pair & Imperfection” Kiff Slemmons, 2004
Nearly invisible lines, some in pencil and some scratched into the surface of the paper, establish perimeters. Pinpricks are placed where divisions will be introduced later. The size of the central image is demarked, as is the varying width of the surrounding border. Usually about ten works are begun concurrently.
Bands of colour bisect the central no-man’s-land of the image. Lines, which come from the left, and those from the right, are at odds with one another. They do not meet or else stop short of one another. Overlapping rectangles do not stack up but are slightly out of sync, slightly out of alignment, referring to notions of displacement.
The most time consuming phase of the work is the application of the colour. With concentration and focus the paint is applied and re-applied, layer upon layer. Several weeks can be spent thus laying down a wash and letting it dry overnight before the next is added. Undulations appear in the paper, from this process of repeated wetting and drying. Ultimately much of this colour will be obscured by subsequent work but at least the edge of it remains visible along with a strong sense that this vulnerable and sensitive surface has a history.