The act of closing our eyes is an action all humans share. Closing our eyes is a starting point, a springboard by which a creative process begins. We close our eyes to focus our thoughts, find new ideas, and to dream. We close our eyes to seek out an empty black space. That black space eventually fills up with visualizations of our world around us. All of this is happening in less than one sixteenth of an inch but yet it is a black space of infinite abilities and dimensions. The fact that all humans close their eyes to go somewhere else - has influenced me to use black space as my subject, my medium, and a tool that engages us into the creative process of seeing.
I make black reflective paintings and sculptures that in turn have the ability to “see” or possess vision by reflecting the environment around it. I exhibit and use my black paintings as a Claude Glass, an 18th century looking glass that helped artists’ simplify colors, shapes and tones. My paintings are a way to re-see the surrounding environments and encourage viewers to look from the black space to ultimately see their surroundings through a different lens. I refer to this body of work as the Other Side of Black. Over the years I have developed a way of pouring this black latex paint to form a highly reflective surface. This method involves a specific timed pouring process, temperature control, and a quasi artist recipe to build the surface with optimum reflective qualities. It is a very sensitive process and the panels don’t always turn out to be reflective. Once the paintings have cured, I film and photograph the surface of the paintings. I focus my camera on the dynamic, colorful reflections that come from surrounding environments to capture visualizations through black, like the ones we have when we close our eyes. In my most recent creative direction, I to use my black paintings as a literal Claude Glass – I paint the reflections of an object back onto the black surface of the painting until I paint out the reflection and can’t see it anymore. This is an old technique of painting that I am now exploring for a contemporary context.
Seeing through black has both historical precedents and current relationships to technology. My intention is to develop my next body of work that will draw a direct connection from my black surface Claude Glass panels to our smart phone and computer screens. As part of a recent Creative Renewal Fellowship, I have been studying smartphone screens, Nam June Paik installations, Rembrandts use of black paint and techniques from the Dutch golden age of painting in an effort to develop my current body of black paintings.