Q: I especially enjoy your “Black Paintings” series. You mention being influenced by the story of how Miles Davis developed cool jazz, making this work uniquely American all around. How did you use jazz history in this series?
A: In 2007 I finished the Domestic Threats series and was blocked, certain that a strong body of work was behind me. But what would come next?
The idea for the Black Paintings began when I attended a jazz history course at Lincoln Center and learned how Miles Davis developed cool jazz from bebop. In bebop the notes were played hard and fast as musicians showcased their musical virtuosity. Cool jazz was a much more relaxed style with fewer notes being played. In other words, the music was pared down to its essentials. Similarly, the Black Paintings evolved from dense, intricate compositions into paintings that depicted only the essential elements. As the series evolved, what was left out became more important, resulting in more demands being placed on the viewer.
Eventually, after much reflection, I had an epiphany and my painful creative block ended. “Between,” with drastically simplified imagery, was the first in a new series called Black Paintings. I like to think this series includes work that is richer and more profound than the previous Domestic Threats.
Comments are welcome!
A: It was the approximately six months in 2007 when I finished the “Domestic Threats” series and was blocked, certain that a strong body of work was behind me, yet not knowing what in the world to do next! For a professional artist who had been working non-stop for 21 years, this was a profoundly painful, confusing, and disorienting time. I remember continuing to force myself to go to the studio and for lack of anything much to do there, spending long hours reading and thinking about art.
Eventually after all of this reflection, I had an epiphany. “Between,” with drastically simplified imagery, was the first in a new series called, “Black Paintings.” I like to think this series includes work that is considerably richer and more profound than the previous “Domestic Threats.”
Comments are welcome!