Paul Rinaldi

Chicago, Illinois, USA

I’m very interested in the capacity of art to convey a sense of time, place and human presence. In my own creative process, memory is central to achieving this end. Memory is both personal and collective, a space held deep within our persons. Though veiled by time, it is a place that can be visited for insight and inspiration. In many ways, layering paint is like the layering of time—new levels of paint cover or obscure earlier gestures, just as the immediacy of the present perpetually slips into the past, overtaken by new experience. We are left with artifacts and memories.

Much of my work involves a play of geometric form that is animated by organic rhythms. I like to think of geometry as representing the logical, rational part of our being, while organic forces, together with color, speak to our emotional core. For me, the way in which these elements interplay touches upon something quite complex and human. In my encaustic paintings, the logic of this geometry is countered or tempered by the sensuality of the wax medium and a fusion of color and light. My process is highly intuitive, and I often draw upon memories of form and color gleaned from walls, windows, machines, doors, shadows and streets and other sources. I use my camera like a sketchbook to record the particulars of my experience—unique moments when light touches a form in a magical way. I’m attracted to subjects which, though once “perfect” in their man-made precision, have subsequently fallen into disrepair through age and neglect—shifting from the modern or postmodern into a primitive state, carrying the wisdom of a long-forgotten tale.

I want my paintings to speak musically through a crafting of shape, color, line, surface, and space. Mathematicians have recently identified that certain pieces of music contain rhythmic sequences that very much echo patterns found in nature, the sounds of which speak to us as true, beautiful, and life-affirming. In part, I’m looking for a visual parallel to music in which content is expressed by the way visual elements enter a dance of rhythmic variation, syncopation, harmony, and opposition. At the same time, I’m every bit as interested in the cleansing role of emptiness—the pause, the silence, the waiting, the sense of expectation.

As an artist, I hope to create objects that invite a viewer to a moment of inner contemplation and reflection, objects that in some way offer a gateway to both collective and individual memory. I want to produce work that somehow collapses time, where one experiences both the fullness and the silence of an expansive moment.

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