Selected Compositions

June 15-23, 2019
South Main Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia

Selected Compositions features a collection of acrylic paintings and drawings on plaster. The work explores composition, colour, and pattern through the use of computational processes.

Visit 2019 Gum Paintings, 2019 Notch Paintings and Plaster Works for individual artwork documentation.

Select compositions for yourself here: Gum Painting Simulator

Exhibition Text:

Questioning my role in the creative production of my own work, I have developed a computer program to generate the content of my paintings. Contrary to certain practices of conceptual art, however, I am not as interested in the language surrounding artistic production, as I am in aspects of aesthetic decision making that are (sometimes romantically) associated with painting.

I am especially interested in how our experience of colour can be liberated from the grasp of language though abstraction. Everyday language is woefully unequipped for meaningful discussion of colour, and symbolic or representational language is too often used when specificity is needed; perverting the perception of colour with names like ‘Dusky Dawn’, ‘Blueberry Popover’, or ‘Twig Basket.’ Even in the context of painting, where accurate description of colour is paramount, the language available is riddled with vestigial meanings, recalling medieval histories, mineral ores, and alchemic processes. These associations, albeit fascinating, alter how colour is understood and limit freedoms in both expression and perception.

The main body of work featured in Selected Compositions is a family of gum paintings which I have been developing since 2010. Early paintings in this series are reproductions of patterns of gum stuck on blocks of city sidewalk. Using found composition in this way allows me to fragment the creative process and isolate specific moments of aesthetic decision making. The dotted patterns appear to me as indexes of form; creating constellations of meaning in a connect-the-dot-like manner.

Moving away from actual sidewalks, the paintings in this exhibition depict images generated by purpose written computer programs. The computer uses random numbers to create an endless stream of images from which I select compositions. In this way, the selection of form and colour is distanced from established systems of compositional structure or colour theory, and more closely resembles the chance encounters that inspired the original paintings in this series. Selected Compositions promotes the questioning of conventional ideas around compositional structure and colour theory in favour of a more intuitive, experience based approach to aesthetic decision making.