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G. Spanierman Fine Art:Tomorrow will be a better day Florence Victor
March 19, 2012  | 

Tomorrow will be a better day
Florence Victor

Time is a central element in the way I work, I always say that most of my studio time is spent sitting, looking at the painting, the walls, the floor, the painting again, adding a color, a line, removing it, adding some again and so on to obtain some kind of balance/unbalance, fragility within a quiet space.

I relate to abstract painters such as Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline and Cy Twombly. My deepest admiration goes to Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series and his use of the grid; renewing subtly and constantly each composition. I also admire what I define as his honesty; driven by his own personal inquiry into painting, he dared going from abstract to figurative to abstract again. I strive for this honesty in my work which is both abstract and autobiographical.

My process always starts with a link, as comparative studies have always interested me. I had studied literature and theatre before going to art school. Often it is through literature that a series begins: thinking of a monolog, a line, the structure of a text or its rhythm. With the series Tomorrow will be a better day, the process was different. Seeking to take some distance from my personal history, I wanted a long term project which would be more of a formal study. The starting point was an old quilt which had been covering my studio couch for years. I had never paid attention to it before. One day sitting on the couch, as I was thinking about what to work on next, I started to look at the quilt. I realized that it was a series of squares; a grid. Since I always use square canvases to paint, it made me smile to think of these patterns as a collection of small paintings. However I was struck by this quilt’s composition and odd mix of fabrics. The multiple patterns randomly assembled put me off at first. On further reflection, I thought I could learn from the boldness of the composition, extending my formal vocabulary: colors, forms, pictorial organization.

There is usually a lot of space to think within my paintings. Visually, my pictorial space is not busy, it is more peaceful. To see all these patterns assembled on the quilt made me confused. I challenged myself to replicate one square of the quilt on a 6”x6” wooden frame. Subsequently, I painted more squares until I had thirty-six. Delimiting the different patterns with graphite lines, reminded me of Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings that I had seen two years ago at Dia Beacon. I understood that the grid, as a system, appealed to me for its structure, the method it provides while leaving room to play with colors and forms without being figurative.

Later, I decided to paint some of those patterns onto larger canvases. Usually I begin a painting with large color fields then day after day, I cover them, leaving at the end only a reminder of what was there originally as I am looking for purity within the canvas’s space. In this new project, the color fields were painted patterns. With each painting, I tried to work on a different composition, using discordant colors and patterns. Then I painted over them, covering some, adding lines and color.

The idea of the grid is completely present in this series, even if it is sometimes hidden in larger paintings. In a subtle way, this project made me relate to Agnes Martin’s work on the grid. Furthermore, her view on creation is also similar to mine:

“Beauty is the mystery of life. It is not in the eye, it is in the mind. In our minds there is awareness of perfection. The artist lives by perception, what we make is what we feel. The making of something is not just construction... it's all about feeling... feeling and recognition. I say to my mind, what am I going to paint next? Then I wait for the inspiration. The painting comes into my mind and I can see it. You have to wait if you're going to be inspired... you have to clear out your mind, to have a quiet and empty mind.

For an artist this is the only way. There is no help anywhere. He must listen to his own mind. You must find your own way.”

While doing this extensive, patient work, I pondered more and more on the concept of time. Contemplating this series of paintings, I cannot help thinking about David Hockney’s words on his collage technique:

“It takes time to see these pictures—you can look at them for a long time, they invite that sort of looking. But, more importantly, I realized that this sort of picture came closer to how we actually see, which is to say, not all-at-once but rather in discrete, separate glimpses which we then build up into our continuous experience of the world.”

As much as the grid, I consider time a key element in this series: time spent formerly by others piecing together a quilt; months I spent reproducing those patterns, working on the series; time elapsed from past to present; and the hopefulness of time mirrored in the title: Tomorrow will be a better day.

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