Having worked as an abstract painter for the past three decades, my goal has consistently been to produce work that challenges traditional notions about the nature of abstraction and the painting processes. A significant aspect of my work is to question the validity of the traditional rectilinear canvas structure, which continues to be the dominant format of the majority of painting being produced today. Early on in my career, I abandoned the notion that the basic square or rectangle was a sufficient structure on which to create a painting. I believe the window-like connotations of the traditional canvas to be an antiquated premise and far too indebted to that of early Western European painting, with all of its preconceptions and conventional limitations. These restrictive parameters are decisively not suitable for the physical structure and visual impact of the paintings I need to produce.
I maintain an affinity for purity and simplicity in painting, albeit shrouded in complex structures, visual systems and laborious technique. Geometric shaped canvases are combined with a compulsive attention to composition and surface detail, which is based around mathematical systems and linear perspective as well as ironic elements of randomness and serendipity. Each painting is made up of thousands of individual brushstrokes painted in acrylic polymers and metallic pigments. Color compositions consist of emotional, intuitive and theoretical systems arranged in formats that interact with the shape of the canvas. My “cadenced” brushwork, which originated in my early abstract paintings, has been compared to the complexity of Byzantine mosaics and the luminosity of Gothic stained glass.
The rich viscosity of my paint mixture results in fluid, wet-looking and reflective surfaces. It could be said that these abstract paintings pay a playful homage to nineteenth-century Divisionism. However, it is evident that these densely polychromed works are an evolution of my earlier geometric abstraction, incorporating a cross-pollination of painting and sculpture. A goal of the work is to reappraise and comment on evolving issues that originated in twentieth-century abstract painting and continue into today’s contemporary genres. Ultimately, these pieces are poetic objects of contemplation and a continuation of my explorations into the sensuality of color, luster and surface combined with the dynamic power of line, shape and structure.
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more information about the artist
email Jack Reilly