When I travel back to places which hold great significance in my formative years; funny things happen to the perception of time. Years pass in between the morning and evening of a long hiking day. Packing up for a camping trip was a lifetime ago. Memories from my childhood and teenage years, however, are not yet passed. Sometimes I can catch a glimpse of seven year old Seth walking down the trail.
Current time is already a memory while long passed moments are still happening.
The painting Honeyopal Bear is the true start to the 30 60 90 series of paintings. It bridges the gap between the pieces of my late school work which used a 90 degree angled motifs regularly with the paintings completed in 2016 onward. Honeyopal bear paired the solid but stiff 90 degree angle with its much more dynamic siblings.
With the active equilateral triangle at play, rectangular object responds to the movement instead of remaining completely steadfast. Not unlike active life and resting death.
Other motifs made possible with the use of the equilateral triangle, like the hexagon, serves multiple purposes. An active shape as well as a representation of the honey/wealth of the bee. The border is obstructed by the bear skull and aligns with the postorbital process and sagittal crest which suggests the bears takeover of the honey.
The bear skull is endowed with an opal. A symbol of sovereignty and power. The honey hexagon is bordered by red and simplified trillion cut garnets, a significant gemstone for Idaho. One last garnet is placed below the bee representing her sting.
Many of the visual elements to Honeyopal Bear can be seen in following paintings. Look for iconic animal skulls, Idaho Gemstones, bright clashing color, and angles relating to the equilateral triangle.
I remember talking to a glass artist who made cold cut crystal sculptures. The sculptures themselves pleased the eye and sparkled with refracted light. However, he finished the conversation with a school of thought which I consider to be incredibly lazy and boring. He told me his work "means whatever you think it means"
I suspect he is lying. I suspect he does actually have a thesis but I can't give him credit for a suspicion. Ironically his work now brings up ideas of dullness and lack of stimulating theory. I doubt he intended his platitudes to conjure up feelings of such mundanity.
I do not try to remove the viewers desire or ability to project personal meaning onto a work. In fact, I think it can endear the viewer to an artwork when they see a part of their story in the meanings set by the artist. It gives the viewer a chance to relate with the artist and it gives the artist a chance to open up. When an artist does not open up and risk vulnerability, he/she alienates the viewer.
I know developed personal stories have always encouraged viewers to delve further into my paintings. Go ahead and make your own stories too. Partner them up with mine. Add yourself to the work with respect and acknowledgement to what came before.
I look to past and contemporary artists I admire. Many of them share a common thread. An ability and desire to draw from their surroundings and experiences as a foundation for their work. For me, this means focusing on what is passed over by others and deemed as inferior or undesirable which I know to be deserving of much more recognition. A goal of mine is to take what is ignored and give it a proper space, to give it regard.
There are uncountable breathless, incredible things in this world. I don't feel the need to depict most of them in my own creations for two main reasons: I either do not have adiquate personal experience with a particular place or thing, or the entity in question has plenty of spokespeople.
I am fascinated by the landscapes and wildlife of New Zealand, but I have never even been to New Zealand so I have no unique paradigm. I also love Yellowstone and the Tetons which are relativley short drives from where I grew up. I have spent considerable time in these areas but Yellowstone and the Tetons have countless talented people paying homage to them already.
I look to motifs which deserve just as much recognition as the Teton Range or Old Faithful but have not recieved nearly as much attention.
I could paint the Tetons. There would be short term reward because the average person is already conditioned to see their worth, but in the long run I think artists who have come before me have said enough. I rather look to places and things which still have great sums of poignancy to be explored.