Warren Isensee

New York, New York, USA

Ideas for my paintings are hatched in small colored pencil drawings. When I begin, the process is like automatic drawing, only in slow motion. The pictures come to me from a preverbal or perhaps nonverbal part of my brain. Maybe it’s partially a subconscious place, one of long deferred memories.

In my earlier paintings, pastel ovoids accumulated within each canvas like dividing cells crowding a Petri dish or rounded stones fitted to each other’s curves to create a wall—a primordial, original architecture. The forms were, and still are, self-referential in the way that nature repeats a shape or unit, multiplying, evolving and mirroring itself into infinity.

Like the ovoid paintings, the more recent linear Tube paintings continue this architectural process, with tubes working like structural beams. They are a combination of linear construct, stacked stuff, and embedded tubes of light. The edges of each form are painted by hand with as much precision as possible, but in the end, it is the imperfect edges along these lines that bring them to life. Where edge meets edge there is electricity, a current that I believe always exists in the space between two solids, on the edge where air meets skin and where light meets dark. It is an activated space, a soft edge.

These paintings also share the freedom from space and depth that is evident in the earlier work. The depiction of space in two dimensions can only be an illusion created with perspective and foreshortening on the picture plane. The actual space cannot be depicted; the space between the body and the wall cannot be expressed on the plane. Flattening space is one way to fortify and gain control over the flux of being in an ever-expanding and global world.

I concentrate on the relationship the colors have to each other one at a time, with each carefully mixed to activate those next to it. It can take hours to mix the particular yellow I need to light up the adjacent orange. I use black as a form of punctuation to emphasize and define the luminosity of color, while white is used both as positive and negative space. A goal is for the intensity of the color relationships to render them equal to the forms they inhabit.

contact & information

more information about the artist
Danese/Corey, New York, NY 

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