Below and Beyond
The "Below and Beyond" series of paintings are made using a sgraffito technique. Layers of grounds made from dry pigments mixed in a clay-gesso slurry are laid down uniformly over the entire surface of the painting and allowed to dry, then the surface is scratched through and abraded to get the colors to come through to the surface. There may be as many as ten layers of color. I call the method Neo Fresco as the color is part of the structure of the paintings, not applied on top of the surface. Only three pigments have been used in different combinations of layers in these paintings -Yellow Ochre, Venetian Red, Ultramarine Blue - and part of the fascination of the technique is the way the colors change from one work to the next.
Why "Below and Beyond" ? The spheres and ellipses are actually scraped deeper into the surface than the surrounding chaos - they are below the surface - and at the same time, the paintings evoke that which is beyond our immediate apprehension; celestial spheres, far off nebulae, neural synapses, and a vast entropy permeating the universe. The rich baroque surfaces are a departure for me from a usually more austere visual palate, and add to the overall complexity resulting, paradoxically, from a simple technique and an economy of pigment choices.