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Tile Paintings

August 2, 2006 to September 2, 2006



This project is about some very simple studies in the way that colors and shapes can influence our perception of space. I am very interested in the way that paintings can not only create their own spaces with in the boundaries of their frames, but also how the space of the paintings develops and builds on the space of a room.

In a previous project "Barge", which was a project based on the ability to move paintings around a gallery undergoing renovation, I was able to bring the space of the paintings and into the space of the room by the sheer size of the paintings and their close proximity to the viewer. There were no display walls, all of the edges of the spaces were defined by the edges of the paintings. So for example, in a figure-ground relationship, there was no ground only figure.

The paintings for the PDX window project build on those ideas by allowing the space of the wall and the gallery to become part of the space of the painting. Each of the tiles hang on the wall individually, so that in order to find the relationship between the tiles, we have to look across the space of the wall. The walls of the gallery and the physical space of viewer become part of the paintings.

The shapes of the tiles are inspired by research into Islamic tile patterns and things that I noticed when I traveled to the Alhambra in Spain. In these traditional patterns, there is no "center." The center is everywhere, just as most of the patterns have no stopping point and could literally go on forever. In that sense they are the opposite of looking through window with a single perspective.

The triangular tiles that I chose for this show flatten the perceived space of each tile by emphasizing surface rather than depth. This is easy to demonstrate because when you look at the tile you notice the edges first and then any space within the tile itself. In a rectangular painting, we tend to ignore the rectangle and dive into its space, much like looking through a window. The colors for the tiles were chosen to give each painting the maximum amount of depth. I think the paintings work in three parts: there is a flattening of the space along the edges of each tile; second the space deepens (or projects) towards the center of the tile as the color takes over, and finally between the tiles will be the space of the room. I think part of the experience of looking at these paintings is vibrating between all of these spaces.

I hope that these paintings work the same way that rocks channel and bend the energy of a river. In these paintings, the tiles themselves are like rocks, squeezing and redirecting the space of the wall. If it works, then whatever images these paintings remind you of - clouds, flowers, landscapes, etc. - are not pictures of some far away space, but they are here and now. In a word, it makes the experience "real."