Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sliced Tomato

Sliced Tomato, 2007, oil on canvas, 6 x 8 inches
This is fresh off the cutting board. I finally got around to do one of the one hour painting studies. It was time and I was ready to have fun with it. I've been having artist block for a while and I was scared that I was never going to do one of these studies ever again. I've been scared lately that I will eventually stop painting, period. But today I started looking at my work with renewed eyes, a fresh start was needed. To celebrate this newly gained inspiration to keep painting I looked around the kitchen and picked up this left over tomato from the other night's dinner. I have been leaning towards tomatoes latelly more than ever, maybe because the richness of color and vitality that they have, some much needed things in my life. After painting this tomato, I felt some sense of healing, a rejuvenation which I hope will keep me producing more work.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Caio Fonseca: Paintings 2006-2007

"I find I'm inspired by seclusion. If I sequester myself for
long stretches of work, isolation allows me to be open to the suggestion of the
painting in front of me. Isolation allows experience to be heard...The world
outside always offers hints and clues, but I make my discoveries inside, while
I'm painting."
Caio Fonseca 2007

Caio Fonseca, Pietrasanta Painting C06.59 (left) and Pietrasanta Painting C06.63 (right), 2006, mixed media on canvas, 30 x 30 inches. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York
Like a breath of fresh air, Caio Fonseca's recent show at Paul Kasmin Gallery gives the spectator a chance to stop and enjoy with all the senses what has been presented in front. There was no better time than Spring to show these new canvases and works on paper so full of light and rhythm. Continuing with his approach of execution and color palette the new paintings by Mr. Fonseca seem to have shed a few layers to reveal a fresh new space. Whether the scale of the pieces are small or large, an openness not present in earlier work pulls the viewer in to free spaces where different shapes dance about the picture.
At first glance the use of color may seem restricted, with white and black playing predominant roles. But looking closely at each painting one can see the intensity of the paint layers and coloring. Mr. Fonseca covers his spaces with semi-organic geometric shapes using high key colors like red and yellow. Every shape has been placed at strategic points in the the pictures, keeping in mind what will be revealed or hidden in the final stage. Underlying stripes run horizontal across the space echoing the lines formed by strings attached to the surface at the beginning stages of preparation. These strings add a delicate yet potent three dimensional quality to the flat two dimensional space of the painting surface. Adding more to the textural qualities of the paintings, zigzag lines, and other kinds of incisions run across the picture cutting through and/or emulating some of the shapes that fill the space.
Caio Fonseca, Pietrasanta Painting C06.20, 2006, mixed media on canvas, 50 x 72 inches. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York
Almost all of Caio Fonseca's paintings end up with a top layer of semi white paint, a thick layer that at times becomes almost transparent developing misty effects and revealing ghostly impressions of the underlying composition, as seen in areas of Pietrasanta Painting C06.20. Movement in his compositions plays a very important role. Bars, squares and semi circles move about the picture like musical notes put into action. There's a certain magical illusion of notes being blown across pages by a breeze, creating rhythmic patterns which may be closely tied to Mr. Fonseca's training as a classical piano player. It is known that before the working day starts, Mr. Fonseca sits in at his piano and warms up his hands by playing music which will call upon his muse.
Caio Fonseca, Pietrasanta Painting C06.18, 2006, mixed media on canvas, 52 x 72 inches. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York
The new compositions are well thought out, but there's an element of light hearted playfulness that sets these pieces in motion. Such playful element is very apparent in Pietrasanta Painting C06.18, a festive painting with red and ochre accents frolicking about the space. Among the other paintings in the group, this piece vibrates with an energy like an explosion of confetti finding its way through the air. These lively colorful shapes are sections left untouched by the last layer of white paint, little windows which reveal the painting's past.
Caio Fonseca, Pietrasanta Painting P06.24, 2006, gouache on paper, 30 x 42 inches. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York
Much of the enjoyment that comes from looking at Caio Fonseca's work is the awareness of the painting process. The constant layering of paint in search of the moment when a piece realizes itself. It has been insinuated by many in recent years that painting is dead, but this show puts all of those rumors to sleep, since Caio Fonseca in one of many mature abstract painters who keep pushing the ideas and approaches of painting. Like some of his contemporaries, Brice Marden, Sean Scully and Pat Steir to name a few, Mr. Fonseca uses paint as way to solve a visual problem. Working away by adding and subtracting, he arrives at his compositions in the manner of many great painters who have come before him.
Caio Fonseca, Pietrasanta Painting P06.25, 2006, gouache on paper, 30 x 42 inches. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York
"A white canvas has all the qualities you look for in a final work...it has
unity and purity"
Caio Fonseca, 03/28/2006
Lecture at The New York Studio School of Drawing and Painting

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

New Painting!

Red Bartlett Pear, 2007, oil on panel, 8 x 6 inches
It has taken me a month and a half to finish a painting. There have been many distractions along the way and a lot of questioning and doubts about my work as well; these factors have been the biggest reasons for my absence from the studio. But today I promised myself that all that will change and that I needed to get myself working steady again. Putting this idea to practice allowed me to focus enough to finish this painting. I had planned on this painting to have a certain color arrangement but one can never stick to the plan when it comes to painting, one needs to go with the flow and allow the painting to develop on its own. That's what happened here. Intended to have a dark blue green background the painting soon started to lean to a more neutral background. What I like the most about this color scheme is that the background has a very subtle green tint, a good complement to the red pear. I'm much happier with this since with the original background the combinations would have looked too obvious. Now that this is done I can move on to the next one with more energy to produce more work.