by: Shane Guffogg
In the late 1980s I was looking for a way to make figurative paintings without telling a story. I was also interested in the idea of spirituality and how that applied to art. Rothko was one artist whose work was, in my mind, steeped in the unspoken realm of spirituality. How could I combine both? Abstraction could and would become my subject. The early ribbon paintings were made from the tossing of a ribbon and documenting that moment of chance. As time went on, I realized the act of making the mark was an inherently figurative gesture, leading me to begin working directly on the canvas without any references. It was a way for me to tap into my subconscious through mark-making.
Then, I took this a step further – these calligraphic gestures, which were done in minutes, became my subject that I would then spend months depicting as real objects, suspended in a frozen moment, lines crossing over lines, casting shadows, reflecting light. It was a way for me to take the visual language of the Renaissance and Baroque and pull it forward into the present. I fused it with abstraction all whilst floating in a conceptual space that was referencing the 4th dimensional world that we peer into via the screens on our TV’s, computers and phones.