The Grid Project – Part Deux – Inspiration

The Grid Project – Part Deux – Inspiration

Inspiration in my work often comes from the most mundane things. Before visiting my brother in Maryland, I received a text from him with this picture:

My brother moved this television from  Florida to his new home and it was damaged on the way. He could still turn it on and off, but all he got were pixilated lines and roving colors across the screen. I told him not to throw it out until I saw it.

For three nights I photographed this screen using my Sony Mirrorless R7 camera, my iphone and my brother’s Canon.  I didn’t have a tripod with me, so my brother lent me his ancient one — the sort where you let eveything flop into place and then you don’t touch it for fear that it will fall over.

The screen was, in deed, crushed. You can see the damage in the upper part of the TV. Since the television was flashing and lines of color were moving across the screen, I wasn’t sure quite what I would capture in a photograph. I expected halos of light, blurry areas due to unstable tripod and shooting free hand. In fact, I wasn’t sure I would get anything.

I took hundreds of photos. Eight hundred, in fact. Each night I would go through them to see what might work and then used that as a guide as to what to photograph the next night.

As I looked at the photographs their connection to mid-Century Modernist painters of lines and grids was obvious. But as I have written elsewhere, each artist used the stripe differently. The subject, application, meaning and outcome were different in each case. You have Noland’s horizontal formalist stripes, Riley’s black and white op-art stripes, Barnett Newman’s “zips”, Gene Davis, Frank Stella, and Ellsworth Kelly, But I sensed something different in these photographs of the television screen, here the grid seems like a cross between Agnes Martin and Rothko.  The modulated light in the background appears to be like atmosphere or weather. It was moody and the stripes punctuate that mood. The photos felt spiritual to me, as though we could walk thorugh them into another world. I think that that feeling came, in part, because the light eminated from the television.

"Breath", 19 inches x 34 inches, archival inkjet print, © Leslie Parke 2018

“Breath”, 19 inches x 34 inches, archival inkjet print, © Leslie Parke 2018

When deciding which photographs to print, I always consider how the ink works. To me, the printer is another painting tool. There are things it can do well, such as creating a super dense black, and other things that do not work well in this medium. For example, today, while printing with Michael Williams, artist, former assistant to Ken Noland and my printer, I wanted to do a print that was predonimantly dark values on one side and white on the other. Printers don’t actually print white, White is created by the absense of ink — as in watercolors, white is the paper showing through. With so much white in this photo, it would just look like there was nothing there.

What felt like a thing is the original photograph, is nothing in the printed version. But other things, like an infinitely modulated gray background with precisely rendered colored lines looks great.

"Fields in Fog", 25 inches x 34 inches, archival inkjet print, © Leslie Parke 2018

“Fields in Fog”, 25 inches x 34 inches, archival inkjet print, © Leslie Parke 2018

The Start of “The Grid Project”

The Start of “The Grid Project”

All projects have their precedents, and The Grid Project is no exception. For many years I used photography as an aid to my painting. I kept looking for subjects that were more and more abstract. I want the image to take on a new meaning as an abstract construct that has nothing to do with the subject.  But I also want to retain in the image some of the things I explored in my painitngs: transparencies, translucencies, reflections,  and qualities of light.

Here are some samples:

Blue Column, 34 inches x 25.5 inches, archival ink-jet print, photograph, © Leslie Parke 2015

Blue Column, 34 inches x 25.5 inches, archival ink-jet print, photograph, © Leslie Parke 2015

 

"Tutti Fruiti", 34 inches x 24.5 inches, archival ink-jet print, photograph, © Leslie Parke 2015

“Tutti Fruiti”, 34 inches x 24.5 inches, archival ink-jet print, photograph, © Leslie Parke 2015

 

"Taut", 27.5 inches x 34 inches, archival ink-jet print of photograph, edition of 6, © Leslie Parke 2016

“Taut”, 27.5 inches x 34 inches, archival ink-jet print of photograph, edition of 6, © Leslie Parke 2016

I am also interested in structure:

Particle Wave, 25.5 inches x 34 inches, archival ink-jet print, photograph, © Leslie Parke 2016

Particle Wave, 25.5 inches x 34 inches, archival ink-jet print, photograph, © Leslie Parke 2016

 

"Green Fence", 25.5 inches x 34 inches, photograph, archival inkjet print, ©Leslie Parke 2017

“Green Fence”, 25.5 inches x 34 inches, photograph, archival inkjet print, ©Leslie Parke 2017

The question is, “Where do I go from here?” [to be continued]