Thursday, 19 December 2013

Transitional Spaces: 12.19.13: Part 3

It is now the second week in December and I have been painting on this piece for over two months.  I am in the glazing stages, a process of layering translucent color upon color to achieve the light that my paintings hold. It is a process that, if done incorrectly, ruins the painting completely. It is intense and exhausting emotionally but gives me such joy when I step back from a canvas and see that I maintained my faith and held true.

                           “In Silent Touch My Purchase Seen”
                                  84”x60” oil on canvas 2013

                                    Though they be
                            Distant, unimaginable, yet
                                    Divine in silent touch
                            Upon each singular moment
                                    In this, the tenuous convention
                            Trust, found, deep within to be.

                                     November 20, 2013

This painting comes out of the idea of finding purchase within this chaotic life, of finding a quiet balance, a quiet space within. Again, from my journal:

There are many gates that open upon this hill, this mountain that we all ascend towards understanding, towards enlightenment. Journeys that take one far and wide, to search, to struggle to find purchase and gain hope. It is this, to find that singular moment, that fragment, that glimpse that becomes the key that unlocks the gate into the garden of impassioned understanding free from convention and traditional thinking.

Angelic warriors, ancestors, those who have gone before, line up to offer solace, a shimmering glance of hope; a piece of illuminating light. This is the gift offered and one received. This is the purchase found that gains us balance as we continue upon this ascended path.

It is in this act of transcending that common value, of stepping outside of the humaneness, rejecting the chaos that surrounds and consumes us, even for brief moments. In this we find a quiet strength and a glimmer of the truth that we hold inside.

December 6, 2013

The next step is to frame this piece so I can see it as it will be when finished. Then after long hours of contemplation finish the glazing even as I begin the next canvas.


Friday, 13 December 2013

Transitional Spaces: 12.1.13: Part 2

I have been painting now on the painting for over two weeks and here is the next photo:

From my journal:

She sits, stunned into deathly silence, hands between tightened thighs, kneeling upon shimmering floor strewn with hopes alive. Pensive, head cocked slightly towards a sound not heard, her eyes travel upwards and ponder what lies ahead.
Spirits fly upon the night and whisper keys to open locks…locks locked tight.

In the distance 3 figures silhouetted by fires back lit in arched grove of which wonders framed. One holding the other in comfort-like mother to child while the second reaches out in shocked silence.

The night dances with spirit shapes. Time no longer relevant or linear. Nothing makes sense and all is chaotic. Yet…the figure remains in prayerful pose, contemplating, almost there, almost cognizant of purpose known.

October 31, 2013

How to find purchase within these words and transform them into paint, that is the quest each day as I struggle to comprehend how these disparate shapes will unify into a whole. This is the greater struggle within my painting world. To trust that inner voice and where it will take me, confident in my hands need to lay paint stoke upon stroke until out of this dense language form is revealed. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

Transitional Spaces: 12.1.13: Part 1

Time seems to have just flown this year of transition, 2013. Here we are in the last month before the page turns and we usher in new hopes as symbolized by the turning of the calendar. Another year escapes our grasp.  As I look around I see how time has taken us prisoner, turning us away from quiet thoughts as we are now in constant contact, always in demand. A product of advances technologically, which we eagerly embrace, but at what cost if in the process we get swept away and lose our selves in the process?

The difference between my studio in Montana and Chicago is the relationship I have with this chaos of constant contact and the press of time.  Now that I am back in Chicago, going on two months, I find this constant need to isolate and find long, uninterrupted hours to be another battle to contend with. It is not enough to push and find purchase within the studio, within a given painting; I now have to fight against those outside demands in a way that is absent in Montana.

I know that this is a struggle we all face within our daily lives of work and family.

For an artist, especially as we get older and the body does not take as kindly to the abuse of stress and lack of sleep, I find that quiet and deep isolation become more and more important. To be able to tap into consciousness at a deeper level it is so important to look within, to not get caught up in chaos, to observe and witness.

I came back to a studio in Chicago devoid of prepared canvases and spent the first two weeks building, stretching and priming 12 new pieces ranging in size from 2’x3’ to 8’x6’ before I had to shift gears and prepare for the studio opening and unveiling of the book on October 19th.  After the opening I began two new large canvases:  



Beginning new work is intense in itself as once I begin applying the turpentine washes I don’t stop or take a break until they are full, rich and dripping in paint. It is a dance of movement and abandon. The layering of colors on top of colors without intellectual thought, a process that can last over 10 hours or more.

If I have prepared properly with an idea and drawing I can just be totally in the moment without regard to whether the painting that begins to emerge is like the drawing.  In a deeply satisfying way it is a transcendent movement, a waking meditation, an almost out of body experience.

It is within this mezmerizing process that the pure essence of creativity unfolds.

I now have been working on the oil on the right for a month and will begin to share a series of post as this painting progresses. 

Friday, 22 November 2013

Looking Within: a series of Three: Part 3

Looking Within: a series of Three: Part 3

            As my time was winding down in Montana I turned to the last prepared rag paper piece that I had mounted early this summer. The book was off to the printer to print the hardcopy proof that I could sit and hold and edit, so I was free to attack this last image with abandon. I had three weeks before I had to shut down the studio and fly back to Chicago.
            This piece comes from thinking about the divide that separates awakening knowledge-that act of divine awareness that transcends all bonds, all limits.

“Divided, Within Oneself”  43”x62” 2013  oil and oil pastel on rag paper

           Within this dream state we are shaken in our concept of reality, our concept of time. The winged messenger transcends through the window of perspective shattering the myth of time, of linear understanding, of how we become truly awake. It is through the veil darkly, that transcendent state, where the conduit is discovered and tapped into.

To realize the significance of our Being transcends time and space, freeing us to become one with all things.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Looking Within: a series of Three: Part 2

Looking Within: a series of Three: Part 2

The 2nd and 3rd oil pastels began late in the summer as the book edits intensified. I was pushed to want to be creative as a balance to the hours of reading text and moving around images on the computer as I edited the book. I needed to get lost in that mystifying process of touching a blank surface and revealing an image that conveys a truth about what I was thinking about.

The second piece was also a vertical, entitled:

           “Empathy’s Grace”  62”x43” 2013 oil and oil pastel on rag paper

                                                            Spins in vortex held
Quickens a breath
                                                            Within slender thread,
Spun, then pulled
                                                            Revealing that terrors pause,
The still points edge deep within.

How do we find that still point within, especially when all around us it 
seems our world is in chaos?

Friday, 8 November 2013

Looking Within, a series of Three: Part 1

While still in Montana, deep within the studio, working on the book and finishing the glazes on the large oil painting, “Reflections Glimmer in Wavering Need”, I primed three rag paper pieces. These were mounted on rigid foam board that is very light and easy to move around. Especially easy and inexpensive to crate and ship back to my Chicago studio in the fall.

The first oil pastel was a vertical created around the idea of gifts. Gifts that are given and gifts that are received. Gifts received that come from an unending source, a source deep within our consciousness.  Gifts that are given through the cleansing of pain and suffering, that process of looking deep within to understand and embrace, then let go.

These gifts are found in beauty and truth and from gratitude in the unfolding.

     “In Grace Unfolding”  62”x43” 2013 oil and oil pastel on rag paper

Friday, 1 November 2013

The journey towards a book: Part 3

The journey towards a book: Part 3

To add pressure to all of this, as if this project wasn’t enough pressure, I decided in late spring after my April opening that I would finish the layout, the selection of paintings and other artwork and the writing, while I was isolated in my studio in Montana so that I could unveil the finished book at my October 19th opening back in Chicago.

After building stretchers and beginning the painting that was in the last blog series posted by Rebecca, I began my intense studio days. Painting all day, then working on the rewriting of the narrative for the book at night. Soon, I was weaving in the painting and the writing so that it just all blurred.

By mid summer I had a very tight, focused flow of the book. I used the 3 big themes: historical changes in my work, the building of the three spaces and the philosophical dialogue that drives my thinking in both the journal entries and the poems I write while painting. These three elements are the woven fabric, the language that flows between the works of art and the images of space, landscape and structure.

Now all I had to do was learn a new software program, Adobe InDesign, and lay it all out in time to have print a proof I could hold and read and then correct.

Needless to say, this was monumental.

As I need to be painting everyday, I continued in the studio finishing the large canvas and then starting three smaller pieces along with three oil pastels; which I will write about in the next blog series.

I must have read and re-read my narrative 300 hundred times honing the language, yet keeping my voice. Once I had the layout the way I wanted it I was up to 221 pages. But it was right and I felt really good about this.

It, for me, was a piece of art.

As with all pieces of art, the color of the paintings needed to be as near to perfect so I turned to my long time designer of my website and invitations, Les Sandelman, to painstakingly go over each and every image, over 200 in all, and make sure they were correct and would upload properly to the book printer.

The hard copy proof came back the second week of September and I poured through it for the final corrections then sent it off to be printed. It was cutting it close, but the finished books arrived a week before the October 19th opening.

I had done it.

If you are interested you can find the link to the book here:

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The journey towards a book: Part2

The journey towards a book: Part 2

Now having all the key pieces I had to begin to edit down the almost 300 photos of the artwork into a more concise and fluid number. Along with this came the writing of the narrative itself and the sorting of both the poetry and the journal pages. It was a very intense next 6 months of development.

Early on I realized that this was another art piece unto itself. So I approached it this way. Complex in finding a rhythm, in finding a flow that would hopefully draw the reader to want to uncover the story just as much as looking at the paintings and drawings.

I continued to edit and narrow down choices and realized, once again, that this was in some ways harder than creating a painting. With a painting, if someone didn’t follow at all my thoughts or concepts that went into the piece they could at least enjoy the surfaces, the light, the movement itself that makes up a painting. But in laying out this project I was laying out my deepest thoughts, exposing how I process the work, how I think about paintings in a very specific way: the philosophy that is the structure onto which I lay the paint.

In other words: I was exposing myself with nothing to hide behind.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The journey towards a book: Part 1

The journey towards a book: Part 1

Last year I began to put together the elements for a book about my work and life that had been in the back of my mind for over ten years. During that time I had repeatedly been asked by some of my collectors if I would ever be more forthwith with my process.

So I began by assembling 8x10 photographs of my artwork by decades without editing. This became an ever-expanding binder that then incorporated my poems that correlated with specific pieces. Once that was laid out I began to figure out the narrative, the threads that linger throughout my studio experience and quickly saw that if this was to be truthful and rich it had to have excerpts from my journals.

The other key was space: The building of my three studios over these 40 years. So I began to collect photos all the way back to 1977 and inserting them into the pages. The binder grew, once again.



Wednesday, 23 October 2013

October 23, 2013

I am back in the studio in Chicago after an intense 5 months painting and working on a book about the past 40 years of my life as an artist. As I am now posting directly to this blog I wanted to first thank Rebecca Astrop for the wonderful writing she did this past year. I also would be remiss if I didn't post the finished painting from the series she wrote about my working on the painting in Montana.

The title is: "Reflections Glimmer in Unwavering Need" 59"x 83 1/2", oil on canvas 2013

Monday, 24 June 2013

Progress and Process in Montana: Part Six

Wallace has begun work on glazing. It's at this point in his process that the artist's focus falls upon "pushing into the space, highlighting and obscuring, charging the emotion of the painting."

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Progress and Process in Montana: Part Five

At this point in the process, Wallace is spending long days, and even longer nights working with the painting.

Says the artist, "I continue to uncover the dialogue within this piece. Every surface has been touched. Still, there's much more to build before I start to think about the push and pull of space, of emotion and the dramatic sense of light and shadow."

Monday, 10 June 2013

Progress and Process in Montana: Part Four

In the original entry in this series, we touched on Wallace's unusual use of gesso in the early stages of preparing his canvasses. Gesso is blend of white paint mixed with chalk, and in most cases is used as a primer, adding a thick, even layer to the canvas before the process of painting itself begins.

In his work with the highly textured materials of his sculptural surrounds, Wallace found himself inspired to consider the canvas's surface in a similar way. He began experimenting with the use of gesso to inscribe contoured images directly onto the canvas. "I started to depart from the traditional way of priming a canvas, and instead began to think of the primer, the gesso, as a means to impart movement, texture and imagery that would be buried underneath the paint.”

“I found this to be a very meditative process, and it's one which has become a part of my understanding of the painting even before it has begun. The texture is barely visible when the painting is complete. In this way, I am fetishising the work in the historical sense of the word: the laying down of this scribed image, scratched into the primer, with the knowledge that the paint will obscure it. The marks become like ghost images laying underneath the painting, underpinning its entire creation."

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Progress and Process in Montana: Part Three

Welcome to the third installment in this focus series, which takes a closer look at Wallace's creative process this summer at his studio in Montana.

Over the last week or so, Wallace has been focused on blocking the composition of his current canvas. "At this stage, my days are very much enveloped in the rhythm and flow of both the physical objects and the colors within the work, and with how these elements guide the eye through the piece."

These canvasses can take several months to complete, and at this moment, Wallace explains, "there are many weeks to go before I can really begin to think about glazing and playing with the push and pull of space with light and shadow, of what is obscured, and what is revealed, pushed into view."

“The symbolism within the painting is a dialogue that emerges with each stroke of the brush. As I paint, layers are unveiled. Each discovery leads to another and another. Some things that end up on the canvas are conscious and others are a result of simply allowing myself to paint and to let the dialogue emerge. It is a dance that sometimes feels very fragile, and other times is so rich as to be joyous.”

Return next week to watch as the work continues to unfold and take form. Meanwhile if you have a specific question about Wallace's process, or about the work, we'd love to hear from you - please leave a comment below.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Progress and Process in Montana: Part Two

The artist has begun to work on several of the canvasses he built and stretched last week. We are very pleased to be able to share these images with you during the time he is creating.

"The painting is unfolding, revealing itself to me by degrees, as long as I am able to set aside my intellect and allow for the spontaneous response to form and movement; a kind of dance of emotions and energy, sparked by a beginning thought and then allowed to burst forth."

"It is an intense, and exhilarating time, as well as being exhausting, in that every stroke of creation forever changes the direction that the painting will take."

Join us next week to watch as these works continue to unfold.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Progress and Process in Montana: Part One

Wallace arrived last week at his studio in Montana, escaping the humidity and bustle of the city. He plans to spend the rest of the summer here.

"It's a perfect day, 60 degrees. There's still snow on the mountains that surround the property. It's always somewhat surreal to have it be so warm, but to see snow on the peaks."

Upon arriving, Wallace began the five day process of building supports for the paintings and oil pastels he plans to create this summer, aiming to build enough to last him through until his return to Chicago - around 20 pieces altogether of varying sizes. Since the process of building one or two stretchers is the same as the process of building a larger number, Wallace prefers to build his canvasses in large batches. "That means I can just paint continually, without having to break the flow of painting and build."

Having assembled 14 stretchers for canvasses ranging in size from just 9 x 12 inches up to 56 x 78 inches, plus 7 mounts for the oil pastels he plans to work on, Wallace adds a coat of gesso to the canvasses. "This is a thicker coat that's very gestural in nature. It's a way of keying in the images that I want underlying the actual painting."

Return next week, when we'll share the next steps in the transformation of these blank canvases.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Sculptural Framing

“I’ve always been very conscious of the distance between reality and the mystery within the painting,” Wallace considers. Visit the studio and you’ll see this fascination played out in many ways in the artist’s work, from perspective to the placement of everyday objects within compositions, to the exquisite frames around some of the works, created from found objects.

“I trained myself to paint like a Renaissance painter,” Wallace explains. “I paint in very thin washes of color, building layer upon layer upon layer, and glazing. During the eighties, I was in the midst of a journey of discovery within my work. The symbolism I was using had begun to evolve, and as such so had the objects I was representing. In turn, even the way I applied the paint to the canvas was changing. When I started working more aggressively past those traditional bounds, I found that the paintings themselves had become violent - they moved faster, the colors swam, the brushstrokes vibrated. They had begun to take on a sense of movement. They started to fly off the canvas. I kept wanting to focus attention back into the painting, but I didn’t want to mute the imagery. I felt they needed to be contained somehow, and I considered how I’d frame them. I started out by simply holding up pieces of wood up to paintings to see what would work. Nothing quite made sense. I decided to build something.”

Along one wall at the studio reside a series of three paintings created by the artist during the eighties. The paintings are stunning – visceral, throbbing with movement. They’re surrounded by huge, sculptural frames of knotted wooden branches which seem to claw out into the space around them.

“My works are windows, they’re portals. I think of these frames like guardians – they’re figures, or sentinels that are standing at a threshold. They invite you to cross, or not, from reality into the mystery of the painting.”

Monday, 6 May 2013

The Spring of the Renaissance

On their recent trip to Italy, Wallace and his wife Deborah visited the Centro di Cultura Contemporanea a Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, where they took in the new exhibition, La Primavera del Rinascimento or The Spring of the Renaissance.

The exhibition considers what is known today as the “miracle” of the Renaissance in Florence, and features significant works by such masters as Giovanni Pisano, Arnolfo, Giotto, and Tino Camaino.

“We saw a Donatello terracotta Madonna and child that was painted in rich, subtle hues like you see in pre-Raphaelite works," Wallace recalls. "It was painted in 1445 and was completely different from all his other work, before and after. I believe Rossetti saw it in Paris at the Louvre and went back to England and began his mature style within the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Stunning.”

Donatello, Madonna and Child, c.1445 painted and gilded terracotta. Paris, Musee du Louvre, (c) 2012 Musee du Louvre/Thierry Ollivier

Monday, 22 April 2013

Conversations with Robert Motherwell

Robert Motherwell
Image © The Dedalus Foundation, Inc.
During his time as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, Wallace had an experience that would shape the way he thought about his career and life as an artist forever.

The artist, Robert Motherwell came to visit the university to give a series of lectures that coincided with his exhibition at the Krannert Art Museum. As an undergraduate in the painting department, Wallace was assigned by the school to chaperon Motherwell during his trip, driving him to appointments and lectures, and accompanying him on studio visits where he looked at the students work, including Wallace’s own.

People were all over him, clamoring to talk to him, asking him question after question about how to have a career as an artist, how to be successful. On the third day, he said to me, “Do you know Jonathan, you’ve never asked me anything. I’ve seen your work. Don’t you have any questions for me?”

I told him that I’d been listening, that I was taking it all in. Eventually, I said to him, “I know I’m still learning, but the truth is I don’t feel the work I’m doing right now is expressing my true self. I want to know how to do that.”

He looked at me. “But don’t you care about your career?”

I told him earnestly that I just wanted to figure out how to tell what I want to tell and say what I want to say.

Very quietly, Robert Motherwell turned and looked at me. Eventually he said, “Jonathan, don’t be successful. Don’t be like Jasper Johns and get discovered in your early twenties, because your life will be over.” He said, “Be like me—live your life, toil in obscurity until your seventies. Let it come to you. And if it doesn’t come to you, don’t care about it. Because your journey will be fuller and richer. I’ve had my whole life to be able to find out who I am and figure that out in my work and now it’s being given to the world. Hopefully that will happen to you.”

I don’t ever not think about that moment.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Tipping the Scale

At the studio opening earlier this month, a guest remarked on the dramatic differences in scale at which Wallace paints, and asked to know more about this aspect of the artist’s work.

“It’s interesting because traditionally, in terms of modern classical work at least, small paintings are studies for large works. For me, the two are different enough as to be incomparable—in terms of both the experience of painting them and the experience of viewing them. Throughout my career I have wanted my smaller works not to be studies for larger pieces, but to stand on their own.” 

As we explored in a previous blog, Wallace works on several paintings at one time—beginning one canvas, then moving onto another as he allows the first to dry, starting another piece and returning to the first to glaze. Generally he works on at least one small canvas as he completes a group of larger works. “Though I do it all the time,” he says, “it is hard for me to go back and forth between large and small pieces because the two processes are so very dissimilar. You have to think in another way altogether. Every aspect—down to the materials you use, the brushes you work with, your gestures—is different. Your mind has to focus in an entirely different way. Hopefully though, you are still creating an image that is in one way very large. The idea is big, though it’s contained by a small space.”

Wallace’s smaller pieces usually take around two weeks to complete. “With those works I begin and quickly get completely lost in the act of painting; in the making of the marks, and in the color, in how it moves, how the eye traverses the canvas.”

“When I’m working on a large painting, I’m way back, I’m forwards, I’m moving, I’m up and down ladders. I have very large gestures and very small gestures. It’s a different kind of dance. When I work on a small section of a larger piece, I get up close and become lost in the marks: I don’t know the whole painting any longer, only the small surface I’m working on. Until I stand back. It still sometimes surprises me that I can be so focused on one small area, and when I step back, I see the overall vision that I hoped to express.”

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Tonight! Join us at Studio 2846

Please join us this evening, Saturday, April 6 from 5-10 p.m. for a showing of Wallace's latest work at his Chicago studio, across from historic Humboldt Park.

Click for details.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Montana Studio: Part Two

This blog post is part of an ongoing series. Click to read Part One

Wallace spends his summers and sometimes a few months out of the rest of the year at his studio in Montana. “I can be totally isolated there for three months at a time. Being in Montana allows me to refresh and recharge, to commune with the quiet landscape. There, it’s just me and the paint.

I paint interiors—the interior of the mind—I’m not painting something specific in terms of landscape or cityscape. Truly, I could paint anywhere. But being in Montana has deeply affected me, and my work, in two ways in particular.

First of all, the light. The light in Montana goes on forever. There’s no pollution. The light changes every time you look at something—it imbues the object you’re looking at, whether that be a tree or a grizzly bear or any of the things you see every day there, there’s a quality that’s almost ethereal. The kind of light that is coming through in my painting now is certainly inspired by that. Without a doubt I owe that quality to Montana, to what Montana gives me.

The second thing is a sense of centeredness. I adore Chicago, I spend more than half my time here, but when you walk through a city, you’re assaulted by it: by the noise, the constant stream of people, the harshness and the structure of the buildings. And sometimes that’s the beauty of it.

In Montana, the property is in the thick of a forest. It’s isolated, it’s mountains, and grizzly bears, and mountain lions, and huge moose, and I don’t have any people around—I can go two or three weeks without ever seeing anybody. I’m alone within this space. I have this sense of awe and reverence. It allows me to be very centered and aware. It compels me to paint. It’s in the air that you breathe, in everything you look at. It brings me back consciously to simply asking, “Why are we here and why are we a part of all of this?”

Simply put, it is the perfect balance in my life, there are no comparisons. Each gives me what I need.”

Return next week to enjoy a slideshow of images of Wallace's studio in Montana.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Join us at Studio 2846

Please join us the evening of Saturday, April 6 from 5-10 p.m. for a showing of Wallace's latest work at his Chicago studio, across from historic Humboldt Park.

Click for details.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Montana Studio: Part One

This week, we sit down with the artist to discover the story of his second studio in Montana.

“It’s a strange thing, like déjà vu. I have a vivid memory of being an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, walking with my friends to class down a gloomy side street, and of this clear image coming to me: my reflection in a lake—I was older, I had grey hair, I was with a woman. We looked out over this beautiful landscape, a house framed by towering mountains, trees and rocks. It was strange—it felt like a memory. And it stayed with me.”

Fast forward a few decades to 2005. Wallace was living and working at Studio 2846 in Chicago, “I adore Chicago,” he says, “but the summers are hard for me—they’re so hot and humid.”

 Wallace and his wife, Deborah, were taking a break from the city, hiking in the wilderness near Lake Tahoe. “We were near these beautiful mountains, and we looked out over a body of water. It reminded me so much of that experience that I had to remind Deborah about it. She turned to me and asked, “You don’t want to wait until your 60, not if this is something you really want. Let’s start looking. Do you know where this is?”

It really made me consider things differently, and after that, we started looking. We booked a trip to Montana and Idaho, consulted the listings and saw a photo of raw land, 20 acres.  Upon walking this property it was instant, it was just… it. Every tree, every rock. The only thing missing was the house. It was my memory. We didn't need to look any further. I was home.

Two months later I packed up my truck and drove to Montana, and began immediately to build a cabin to live in while I worked on building the space. It took me a year and a half to build my studio in the mountains. In the summers now, that’s where I go to paint.”

Return soon to find out more about Wallace's work in Montana, or subscribe on the right to receive updates as they're posted.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

A Transformative Moment

Half way through his fourth grade, Wallace and his family moved from St. Louis, Missouri, to Chicago.

On arriving in his new school, the first big project that the young Wallace was set to work on was about Thomas Jefferson. “Back then, you know, if you were affluent, you had encyclopedias. We didn’t.” Wallace recalls time spent in the library, pouring over books.

He was struck by a small print of Jefferson’s image on a book’s sleeve, “and so I traced it—I traced it completely, and when I handed in my report, I included the drawing.”

To his astonishment, and to his parents’ chagrin, Wallace recalls – “I was suspended from school for plagiarism!”

It was a severe punishment, he remembers. “But it was a turning point in my mind. From that point forward I decided, I will only ever do my own work. I’ll never recreate anyone else’s work. I’ll never do what anybody else does. It was truly pivotal for me.”

Friday, 1 March 2013

Unspoken Language

Unspoken Language, 2013

The piece, completed. To discover the artist’s process in the creation of this work, look back over previous blog entries, tagged with Unspoken Language.

A way of reading the painting, from left to right:

Time left behind. The mask discarded. Direction gained. The book of truth, words arise into consciousness, empowering or destroying - deepening in thoughts lingered upon. A rush, arising into the light that illuminates all. Within, the shadowed observer, ever present.