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Jason Buening

Artist's Statement

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Artist's Statement

A painting is in itself something of a contradiction. Although a painting's surface is flat, it can give the impression of depth. Maybe a painting could be better be related to a pond. A pond appears flat, but below the surface the pond is a repository for fish, bugs, frogs, algae, mud and leaves. As you spend time wandering around a pond it changes. Your angle of vision, the angle of light from the sky, and how closely you look reveals some of what lies beneath, but not all is perceived in one sitting. In the same way a painting consists of many layers.

My paintings reference my surroundings. The landscape, sunset, trees, windows or people are interesting initially as spatial constructions but yield another significance as they are painted. Like the pond, the painting has an apparent surface that plays bedspread for ideas, subconscious thought, waves of emotion and altered decisions. My strategy is to build colored shapes to form a cohesive surface that still reflects the fish beneath. Locating these shapes and establishing their scale are the most important aspects of my paintings because the position of each shape in relation to one another dictates how the spaces I paint are perceived. The distances need to signify.

I am interested in creating a modern medieval space. Medieval space is compressed, stylized and often containing an awkward sense of perspective. The medieval personality reflected by Gothic architecture appeals to me. As I undertake a theme it evolves over a long period of time and several layers of ideas and direction may compete in a way similar to the building process of medieval churches. Because like these buildings, which often took centuries to build and would be submitted to the ideas of several generations of architects, my paintings go through many stages of completion in the process of looking for the proper resolution of order.

Although I like the medieval personality's sense of geometry, especially the shape making of Giotto, Massacio, Andrea Mantegna and Piero Della Francesca, it is modernist color structure that illuminates the spaces of my paintings. Looking at Gericault water colors, and the paintings of Matisse, Fairfield Porter, Louisa Matthiasdottir, Martha Armstrong and one of my own teachers, Mercedes Matter inspire me to work doggedly towards connecting tones and temperature marks to ultimately build a whole coherent veil of color.

I attempt to discern and situate the colors I see onto the space of the canvas. At certain stages both what is being painted and the process of painting is not unlike a retreating puzzle. Appearances wobble, the light changes, temperature shifts and time ticks by quickly as everything recedes into an effort to establish a personal organization that lead the eye lyrically through the canvas while remaining faithful to the feel of the space's exhalation upon my perceptions.

Jason Buening