Last week I completed the paperwork that would accession “Interlude” into Portland’s public art collection. The decision to purchase the work was made by the Regional Art & Culture Council (RACC) on behalf of the city. RACC is one of the primary reasons that Portland’s art scene continues to thrive as they offer a host of grants to individuals and institutions of all creative disciplines.

Of all the works I’ve created in the past two years “Interlude” was the most difficult to complete and the work that I’m most proud of. For years I’d been keeping this low resolution image of the sun setting out the library window where I worked. It was one of those stormy fall days where the water whipped about in all directions as it fell from the sky and I felt fortunate to be among the quiet confines of the books and magazines. When the sun broke along the horizon the blackness of the storm clouds was made all the more apparent and having nothing but the Photo Phazer (an early digital camera that had been marketed to children, was held like a phazer from Star Trek, and had perhaps 5MB of total storage capability) I shot the scene through a rain-spattered window. The resulting image moved me. It was powerful in its mediocre representation of something so sublime. The blacks were mushy stains when the digital file was printed and the edges of shapes revealed the square corners of pixels more than the organic contours of nature.

When it came time to take on the challenge of converting this image into a drawing I opted to play down the digital origins of the image. The abstract composition of line and form took center stage and mushy blacks became silvery graphite. I did preserve the lack of clarity in the lower fifth of the image where a bramble of branches in shadow simply melded into one nebulous void of darkness, but ultimately the drawing was biased toward grandeur rather than technological mediocrity.

Such considerations might seem pedantic, but these are the musings that go through your head when you stare at a work in progress over the course of many weeks. These considerations are what grant “Interlude” some presence and they are made possible by idle days before windows- staring out at storms.

No comments: