Blasting, 5 x5", Acrylic, Vinyl on Canvas

- Collection of Lona Poole -

BLASTING

Longtime interest in the simplest kinds of communcation - numbers, letters, logos, signs, icons - and in breaking down barriers between high and low art, complex and simple, good and bad, arcane and obvious led me to create a series of works consisting of decals, static clings and stickers of various kinds on canvas.

Using canvas comes from its availability as a 2 dimensional medium with an ancient history, a medium full of ghosts, assumptions, and yet still full of unknown possibilities. Canvas, with acrylic painted undercoatings, on which are placed pre-made decals and stickers has become possible because of the evolution of online auctions which are a relatively inexpensive method of buying things like decals and stickers but which is also a research tool to find and uncover things one suspects may exist but does not know. I use the the internet to explore and obtain images which say a lot about the culture.

What these images have to say is not all good nor all bad - but is a lot of both. Acquiring a large number of stickers and decals creates the equivalent of a large palette of colors, except these are also words, numbers, images and text. Scale is all relative, some things are the 'real' thing, and others may be tiny models of the same thing seen in real life yet all are available and can be used in the same space using similar methods of application. The similarity of the forms helps break down the use of only one 'scale' for the images, or one material, or one color, or one type of image. All are equal at that level.

Spread out in front of me on a table the wild panoply of images already say a lot in their random relationships. Applied to the canvas they begin to create a kind of expectation, or energy which is exciting, colorful, unanticipated and partly logical, partly illogical. Narrative becomes suspect when an image of a flag is placed next to - or over - an image of a flower. What does it mean. Then the images begin to resonate on the canvas. It becomes obvious to me in time that the energy created needs to be sustained and looking at the canvas I can often see areas where the energy 'leaks' away, or there are energy 'holes' either literal or figurative. That feeling tells me to continue working.

As I look for and add other images, their interrelationships on the canvas increase. One decal applied may cover parts of 7 others, changing and making more complex the place where edges meet, where the images destroy each other and where the eye goes or does not go when viewing. In BLASTING, I worked with images of different themes: a state flag, flowers but also racing decals, numbers, stickers for snowboards and football helmets. Eventually I felt the 5 x 5 inch canvas needed a unifying image, but which?

From thousands of images, I found a decal sent to me as a free gift from another purchase, a decal I never bought and never looked to own. But it was there, done in a European woodcut style of a quasi-realistic renaissance soldier turning on a horse blasting on a horn, with a banner hanging from it. The decal was originally meant to be fired on ceramic in a kiln but here I was putting it in water to then add to the strange array of other images. It had to be laid over all the other images which when it was placed could still be seen through it, giving it a kind of ghost like character, or seeming like a memory. At the same time it covered them and both it and they merged into a kind of crazy but somehow unified composition.

I had plugged all the energy holes and had found a new relationship for these images which they were never intended to have, and in doing this transformed them from their mundane uses into a new space with new meanings for a while.

johnsheridanart@sbcglobal.net