Fine Art That Moves

I began my professional career in 1982 as a family physician in rural Vermont. After nearly 25 years, I left my practice of medicine to pursue a full time career in art, both in the visual arts and in dance. Initially, my paintings were realistic renderings of the nude, but my obsession with movement has taken me in the directions of both the creation of mobiles and the composing and displaying of my works on a rotational frame (The RoFrame). Using the latter device, my artwork has become more abstracted.

It’s all about relationships: abstract art distills an artist’s world view down to the essential design elements of line, shape, form, color, and texture. How these are related depend on the artist’s conscious intent during the creative process, and, as well, on a relatively high proportion of unconscious influence.

In making such paintings, an artist has a general notion of how he or she will start out (the size and nature of the surface to be worked on, choice of media, subject matter, for example), but the colors, choice of implements with which to apply the medium, time limit, etc. might not be decided upon at the outset, and may only become clearer as the process unfolds. Along the way, he or she must be open to whatever may be happening to the painting—a chosen color’s effect, the length and thickness of a line, a resulting value, or an errant mark—all of these may require adjustment, alteration, correction—or, may need to be preserved as a serendipitous occurrence that significantly enhances the work in progress. These decisions, deliberated and/or intuitive, are examples of the interplay of the conscious and unconscious in the creative process.

How are the effects of the unconscious seen in a piece? Of the many ways, two come immediately to mind: one is to look at the painting sideways or upside down, especially if turning a painting was part of its creation, and second, is to invite a fresh set of eyes to respond to what has been painted, especially if said viewer is allowed to turn the painting him or herself.

My paintings have been turned in the making, resulting in finished pieces which can be viewed with interest from any direction. Both of these aspects are honored by exhibiting them on a rotating frame, a device which allows a viewer to see the painting one way, and invites him or her to easily turn the piece any number of degrees, to view it from completely different perspectives.

When an abstract work of art is turned, its inherent balance becomes immediately evident. And surprisingly, things not seen in one orientation become noticed in another. For those comfortable looking at abstract works of art, this will provide a unique opportunity to play with familiar relationships in a new way. For those who may find abstract art hard to understand, turning the painting and inviting the question,  “Now what do I see?” or, “What feelings do I have now?” may be just the gateway into appreciating an art form that was previously intimidating or irrelevant.  For all viewers, though, the interactive nature of paintings on The RoFrame will prompt a dialogue between viewer and artist, facilitated by the turning of the painting.  

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