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Endless Stairways

The Endless Stairways pictures displayed on this page began as complex three-dimensional chains of domino-like forms interacting within the two-dimensional surfaces of the paintings.  The images were originally a way of experimenting with different types of compositions for use creating underlying structures in new paintings.  By selecting the basic shape of a cube, the artist relies on the viewer’s familiarity with linear perspective illusions to instill the flat rectangular surface of the picture with the impression of deep constellations of three-dimensional energetic movement animating the design.  The eye follows the swirling dance of the patterns set before it, connecting, disengaging, and reconnecting different parts of the image in a series of musical displays.  Interlacing rhythms of the stairway shapes on the canvas trigger corresponding pulses in the viewer's visual field, fusing the experience of the viewer's optical sensations with the colors of the various stairway strings to then create an emotional engagement by their mind.

 

The inspiration for this series is found throughout Western art history, from the explosive depiction of complex Hiberno-Saxon La Tene circles-within-circles and powerful diminishing curves decorating The Book of Kells, to the energetic frenzy of Leonardo’s swirling destructions in his late Deluge drawings, and Van Gogh’s visionary ecstasy conjuring nature in the spiraling details of his reed pen cypresses.  The serpentine arrangement of the cubes ("Endless Stairways") indicates the primary direction of the trails in the images for the viewer's eye to follow; overlaying transparencies of oil paint allows light filtering through the translucent breadth of the color to enhance the visual depth of the experience, while at the same time permitting a painterly surface to stimulate the tactile sensibility of the viewer, pulling their consciousness more tightly into the image. 

 

But another meaning also informs these efforts.  The pictures represent the artist's subliminal impressions when interacting with the many frenetic motions unveiled through unavoidable personal engagements connecting to the present world.  Curving twisting collections of endless stairways with varying size, thickness, and intensity convey movements that evoke the repetitive often unrelieved oppressive patterns constantly encountered, from traveling through convoluted highway interchanges to navigating confusing bureaucratic office corridors.  These complex mazes of perceptual and psychological sensations embody the demands of intellect confronting disconcerting aspects of our contemporary urban environment.  Paths with parallel then conflicting directions lead the mind into an arena devoid of logic, lost into the optical confusions reminiscent of Piranesi’s Carceri d'invenzione.  Dynamic patterns of motion depicted here are meant to engage the spectator’s eye and unsettle his equilibrium in order to simulate encounters of an uneasy felt reality cascading beneath ordinary experience. 

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