Standard Measure 

This body of work began in 2001 as a complete surprise to me.  I was searching for new ideas, making hundreds of spontaneous drawings when I first drew two perpendicular lines of measure that extended to the very edges of a rectangular sheet of paper.  These first lines seemed to describe the rectangle, making it more tangible, and began a grid on which the work could grow.  

To this grid I began adding elements of a personal vocabulary.  The first addition to my “lines of measure” was an “arc of measure” signifying 90 degrees.  This element not only follows the logic of the grid, it also predicts the link to the next element, the gesture. 

The introduction of the gesture really set the work in motion and brought it to life by adding content of a different nature to what might be called the grid of reason. And when the grid and arc were woven into the gesture the many layers of these paintings became even more integrated in a natural structure, locked in harmony and logic.  

This work started from a concept but has become utterly physical.  I brush on paint, knife on paint, create layers, draw lines with a stick, and nearly destroy the drawing with knife and paint.  I draw, erase, destroy, redraw, eviscerate, and redraw until the final work begins to emerge. 

What emerges is a form that appears to have grown from a conceptual seed planted at the beginning of the process, and which has blossomed into Baroque compositions incised in thick, viscous oil paint.   

The title “Standard Measure” refers to Marcel Duchamp’s  “Standard Stoppages” in the Museum of Modern Art.  His idea of using a length of string as the conceptual impetus for making these works has always intrigued me.  Duchamp and his self-referential concepts sprang to mind almost as soon as I drew the first two lines that began this series.


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