Artist's Folding Instructions

All remembering and all future projection are much like origami, though it is not paper that we fold into familiar shapes, but time that we fold to order life into cause and effect.

When I say that I remember the day I decided to create art for the rest of my life, I am folding the present up against the past. Planning the future is a similar act of merging two time frames. The process can be one of truth or deception depending on the faithful working of our synapses, or on our moods or agendas.

When I start on a new work, or take up one in progress, I rarely know what the final creation will be. The contact of pencil with paper releases memories or imagination, shaped by recent conversations, dreams, wishes, events.

A line might signify a radius or a first childhood experience with ruler and compass. It might remind me of a tree trunk dark with dampness, or the short shadow of a telephone pole early in the afternoon. It might be a stretch of horizon or a dark fold in a piece of paper. A line might follow from memory or lead to memory.

And colour? In a kind of synaesthesia, a layout of colours might flow from a chant I am softly reciting, or from memories released by music in the studio, or from sensations of paper beneath my hand, my sweater against my wrist, my hair shifted by a ceiling fan. Sometimes a complex form or layered colour (dense or diaphanous) reaches out, fully conceived, towards the page.

Most often the shapes are geometric or strongly mathematical. Like Kandinsky and some other artist and scientists, I feel a strong sense of spirituality in mathematical forms. Notwithstanding the circuitous course of our daily lives and our thought processes, many of my lines fight to be straight, to find the shortest distance between two points. This is often how we remember and plan, that is, in a pared down, simplified way that we should know cannot be fully trusted. My minutely offset screens express that uncertainty at the same time that they suggest visual depth.

The layering of screens (up to 30, with up to 5 layers of colour in places) may push me to the saturation limits of my paper, a sometimes necessary risk. I work in a state of utter mental calm.