Solo exhibition at thirtyninehotel, September 2004
This was my first foray into painting since I was in art school about 6 years prior. Literally, the main image for this post was the very first painting since school.
I always kept sketchbooks and never stopped drawing & thinking about art, but I didn’t actually paint for about 6 years.
I think it’s pretty obvious where these paintings were coming from. At the time, I was convinced that I was using myself as a model, but it wasn’t about me specifically. I was very interested in the idea of storytelling at the time… and these images were like snapshots of a moment in time either right before or right after something important happened in the storyline. Stills of the in-betweens.
The positioning and posturing came from a book I’ve had for a long time on the history of Aikido. In particular, there was a photograph in which one person was throwing another. The person being thrown was completely upside down, but his body looked so natural, and his facial expression was absolutely blank… as if nothing was wrong. This image lingered in my mind for a very long time. For seven years to be exact.
I wanted a subject that wouldn’t get pulled into any one specific allegory or tale. So I used myself as a representative of the modern world in these scenes steeped in traditional Asian sensibilities.
In retrospect, they were all about me. Hands down. It’s pretty simple really. I was trying to find my way again… searching for something. Pulling on strings trying to reel in something that I couldn’t quite grasp. The water and the boats indicative of a spiritual journey.
Essentially, a narrative with no particular story to tell. In a sense, my first story. Thus… ‘book one’.