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Street Crowds

These paintings, unlike others in my work, are done as action paintings. Without thinking too much, I try to paint automatically and let my choices of color, stroke, placement etc be guided unconsciously. It's an interesting experience and results in some very surprising aspects and images within the painting. It's not unusual to see faces, animals, objects appear out of the seeming chaos of the paint on the canvas. Some people see more than others. And it also depends on your disposition at any given moment. This phenomenon is called Pareidolia. Ascribing images to otherwise abstract forms.


This is another example of a chance operation, or automatic painting. This is a process used by the surrealists in Paris in mid-20th Century. It was also applied to writing in their invention of exquisite corpse. The idea basically was to let the unconscious mind lead in the creative process, and to get the controlling "rational mind" out of the way.

I also became interested in Action Painting through my work as a musician and composer. I was familiar with the "chance operation" techniques of poets like Jackson Maclow, or composers like John Cage. They invented all kinds of techniques to let their creativity be guided by something not in their control. Like using a deck of cards for example, or cut-up techniques used by Brion Gysin and William Burroughs. As a musician I also accompanied the Japanese painter, Naoki Iwakawa on open piano, improvising playing normally but also striking or plucking the strings with various tools and mallets, while Naoki painted on a large canvas. He would throw paint at the canvas, or ground pigment, often throwing himself on the canvas, etc. These wild dynamic actions he used to paint allowed him to draw on his unconscious rather than deliberately making choices.

I hope you find the "reading" of these paintings in my collection interesting, surprising, and pleasurable!


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