On making art-making "explicit"

On making art-making "explicit"

Since framing my work as radical presentification, I felt the need to track the steps of making one painting. While going through the effort of documenting and making sense of my current "creative process," I noticed what a failed project this is. However, this failure to document and make an intellectual sense of creative impulses reaffirms my necessity to learn through abstract painting. It is as if, with time, each of my abstract paintings will become figurative, and the spiritual won't be in disguise anymore. As it is now, I see each of the flowers I create as diagrams of ideas to learn in the present moment and relearn in the future.

So here it is, the latest painting I finished yesterday:

78X60 inches/ 2mX1,5m. Cosmic Studio. Casein and oil on unprimed cotton canvas. 

I first started this painting interested in mirroring my organizing of a shelf at the Soil Factory, in which I identified the same structure of 24 spaces in Antonio Dias's Do It Yourself: Freedom Territory. I've called these mirrorings Doing It Ourselves: Freedom Territory (which lovingly becomes DIO, like "god" in Italian). My painting had 30 spaces, expanding the structure.

After bringing the painting home and leaving it on the studio floor for a few days, the children and I played on it with clay, which gave me the images and ideas to create an art-making program for children at the Soil Factory. 

A few days after that, I painted a flower inside each square, on top of the marks that remained from the play with clay. My intention was to create for myself a sample of possible flowers that I imagine for singular paintings, which I'll title Cosmic Flowers (hence the title "studio"). -- So far, I have done "Flowers in the Desert" and "Winter Flowers," so the Cosmic Flowers will follow those.

The Cosmic Flowers come from my ideal of making my painting practice more explicit as a space where my most interesting intellectual experience happens. However, it is extremely hard to make this intellectual experience evident beyond the paintings. I've been using the word "explicit" to define my efforts here because "explicit" evokes sexuality, which is involved in this through the notions of pleasure and vitality, as in life force. But to be explicit is tricky when the qualities of the actions I'm manipulating are nuanced and delicate.

I found a way to be explicit in communicating one of the values of this painting when the children played stepping in each of the squares. I was lucky to document the exact moment they created the play when the grid in the painting became something like hopscotch.