Painting the Wake:
Generally, for me the phenomenon of
layering in painting
-- i.e., the natural process of putting one layer of paint
over another, whether by glazing, scumbling, scraping or wiping,
successively building the final surface, or picture plane
-- and Joyce's "portmanteau" words --
his layering of word-roots, meanings, and languages
to create the composite words in the Wake
-- is a fortunate parallel in art.
In these very recent paintings,
the concept of figure-ground presents
another fortunate parallel.
Figure-ground is the relationship, in any art form,
of the dominant marks, colors, textures, etc.
(fill in the necessary terms to change discipline, if you like),
to the surface or support that is its unified field.
I think of Joyce's Sigla as figures, and much like
Chinese calligraphy, characters functioning both pictorially
and as references to the text;
the heavily textured and indeterminant landscapes,
unified by all-over color, establish the text/ground.
It's a metaphorical wedding of the
plastic with the verbal,
the liquid with the solid, time and space, and,
obeisance to Mr. Joyce, the tree and the stone.