Notes on Another Night in the Ruins series

Notes on Another Night in the Ruins

Making art is propelled by a kind of hunger. It is a walk toward the horizon– a horizon that everyone sees but no one can reach. There is an urgency to keep walking toward it, in spite of all the evidence of its intangibility. There is a paradox in aiming for something we cannot achieve– for example, I want to saturate my paintings with sound. I want to make paintings that have notes. I want a painting  to be like a song you cannot quite remember, but when you hear it, feel like you have always known it.

I am not interested in making a painting about something; I want to make paintings that are on the verge of meaning, on the edges and boundaries that make us lean into liminal places. Just as the horizon is something we all know, but does not exist on any map– there is a struggle to get to this place that is not listed in the atlas. There is no narrative with a beginning, middle and end. What I strive for in my painting is more like poetry– the lyrics are not as important as what they point you toward.

I don't aspire to represent or appropriate reality– I want something to happen as I encounter the surface of the painting. I hope that something will happen to the viewer too, that he or she will be stopped long enough to find a new interiority– or get a glimmer of something. It is what James Joyce called "aesthetic arrest". The only way I know how to access what's elemental, dark, mysterious and universal– is to myself work from a state of unknowing.

"...our one work is to open ourselves, to be the flames"

From Another Night in the Ruins, by Galway Kinnell