PostMortem: Human Figure

This was the first of the series that I completed as a part of the Creative Pinellas 2022 Emerging Artist Grant. This was the easiest of the pieces to resolve because it was based on disparate elements that only had a tangential relation to myself and were primarily found/collected ephemera – there wasn’t that added layer of working with an element that becomes a personal totum. Family pictures become sacred relics and you don’t dishonor them; you can’t kill the sacred cow. This painting also set the “rules” for the subsequent pieces…just like creating a grid system in page design, the decisions of the initial page (painting) influence the pages (paintings) to follow, and it is by abiding to those rules that you create a gestalt for the set.

In defining the rules for a composition, series or for a multiple-page document, you answer questions as you move forward from piece to piece. But, they are your rules; you are god of your creation so if you decide to break your rules, no one is going to hunt you down. I used to like to say that the rules of art+design are kind of like Barbossa’s take on the Pirate Code, “…the code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.”

The thing to keep in mind is that as you establish rules to play by, especially for a series, the rules have got to be consistent in order to maintain gestalt. If you consciously decide to break your rules, you must make your decision look decisive!

For this piece you can see that I established a base unit that defines the margin of the canvas; however, I break that margin slightly at the top and bottom to establish a stronger vertical movement and to break the rigidity of the left/right margins. Another rule I established early on was to use generous borders of white around the composition. I did this intentionally because this is not a normal motif for my work and one of the things that I really wanted to take advantage of during this grant was to break from my previous work and processes. As I move through blogs discussing my work for the show, I will revisit how I use “systems” to guide and unify the work.


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