I spend a lot of time watching paint dry which is fine because I consider myself to be, first and foremost, a painter. Experiments with alternate drawing methods led me to cut/tear paper and arrange objects, lifting me off the paint surface into collage and assemblage. The arrival of furniture ‘shards’ in this process seemed a natural extension of the journey.
Wooden chairs provide most of the 3-D elements for my work. Recovered from the alleys of Richmond, yard sales, or purchased cheaply at Goodwill, the chairs and tables and dressers introduce a human element to what are otherwise bold, abstract gestures. These furnishings were designed for humans and represent a human scale; we give the parts human names: arms, feet, legs, backs, seats and so on. An anthropomorphic whisper keens behind the work.
I taught in Japan many years ago. During that year abroad, I visited Kyoto several times and loved the old city where remnants of rice cultivation--wooden, ancient, splintered and gray--lay in honored retirement around the wood-and-paper houses, sometimes mounted on the house exterior as decoration. I never forgot this homage to human endeavor. The Kyoto series owes its origins to this memory. Debris Fields, generally created from one fractured chair or furniture piece, are intended to be bolder, simpler, and more colorful. The title seems morbid. The idea includes the Titanic and airplane crashes, but our lives are debris fields. Aren’t they? Sometimes the debris is gorgeous, uplifting; we wish to return to those times in our lives to retrieve them. Other moments are better left where they fell. There were other series as well; the very first was the original Spindlepunk series, raw and fearless. The Tondos project from sheet metal or pegboard backing and include a broader mix of materials. The Nesting series, composed in diptychs, fill drawers and other containers to create secret spaces, isolating and contrasting intimate still life arrangements. Is this an exploration of inclusion and exclusion? Listen to the whispers. Giza, thus far a limited series, uses triangles or pyramids to explore simple expressive structures. Most current are the Stoolies, which are free-standing sculptures built on stool armatures. This Spindlepunk-in-the-round is a renewal of the original challenge I set forth for this expressive personal genre.
As Jim Dine once proclaimed about his work, maybe I, too, am just looking for images to hang paint on. Allow me to confess one arrogant notion. No matter what structures I build--ugly, gorgeous, inspired or disturbing—I truly believe that I can redeem those structures with paint.
Which brings us back to the color . . . except for the base coat and a rare touch with a brush, the paint is poured and sprayed; it flows and drools and cracks and oozes. You’d think the paint would add an element of chaos to the nice arrangements of wood. Quite the contrary, I use this painting process to impose order. The paint charges these pieces chromatically and emotionally. It creates harmonies or contrasts that drive and give depth to the compositions. Paint is a roar, not a whisper.
Richard Green, 10/5/2019