ONE PIECE, Thomas Jewell-Vtiale
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ONE PIECE, Thomas Jewell-Vtiale

The ONE PIECE series on the blog offers a closer look at one piece that is currently on exhibit at the gallery. Today's featured artist is Thomas Jewell-Vitale, whose work is on view until November as part of NEW WORK.
The title of this painting is "Koi and Enso" and is Japan themed. My wife Jane introduced me to Japan years ago, otherwise I would never have been able to think of this title or reference. We are fond of visiting Japanese gardens which often have Koi ponds. The  chaotic, squirming trails of the paint and abrupt punctuations of the brush work in and surrounding the blue center panel make me think of Koi fish gliding and splashing about.
KOI AND ENSO, Oil/wax/canvas, 48 x 36
 An "Enso" is a circle often made with a single, loose stroke of the brush in Japanese calligraphy and I realized that I had made a crude circle in the lower left, two-thirds, center panel of the painting. In Japanese calligraphy an "Enso" is said to symbolize the universe or some form of completeness. I found, or better yet, discovered both the Koi and Enso references in this work. I say, "found," because their discovery surprised me much in the same way that other types of associations or significances a viewer might find and attribute to a painting may have relevance only to the viewer but may not have had anythingto do with the artist or his/her intentions.
One writer I ran across said, "Its necessary to attend to what a painting knows apart from what the artist knows". I think that it is good advice. I've built my entire approach to painting around it and also my eagerness to paint in the anticipation of self-discovery. For me, discovering what a work has to say can only come by looking closely for the direction in which the work is leaning as it develops. Certainly I push and pull it to maneuver things but I try to avoid being shackled to any premature interpretation by forcing the shoe to fit. I never start with an idea and then try to execute it. For me painting is about discovery, the same type of discovery I eagerly anticipate when I visit an art museum. I would much prefer to be surprised by the unthought-of imagery a new painting has in store for me and simply let it use my personal history and baggage as its prompt. Eventually we agree when I'm satisfied I've maneuvered it to the point that  it has a life of its own. Only then I can I release the work on to its next incarnation in your mind's eye, to communicate whatever it might mean to you. In this way I believe a work can live on indefinitely.
10/27/2015 3:06 PM |Add a comment
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