Friday, July 25, 2008

Joanne Mattera On Arrangement

Like many artists, I think a lot about arrangement—the composition of elements within one painting, the installation of paintings on a wall—even though I typically adopt a simple format: squares or stripes, arranged in a grid as blocks or stacks of color. But of course “simple arrangement” (simple, another good word for your list) is never quite that.

Take the blocks of color. How big are they? Are they part of a larger composition on one panel? Are they individual panels arranged to hang singly or to be arranged into a larger whole? How is the color achieved in these blocks? Will I build up the surface with translucent layers to create a color that your retina perceives as the final hue, even though it is composed of many hues? Or will I scrape back some of the topmost opaque layers to reveal something of the hues underneath? Will I limn the edges to define the square as an object in space? Will that edge spark your eye to jump to the next painting in the arrangement?

And what of this arrangement? I typically work in series, so I like to show a selection of paintings in a way that lets you in on my visual thinking. Do I run a “zip” of paintings along the wall, so that A relates to B, B to C, and so on down the line? Or do I create a grid in which your eye can move back and forth, up and down? And, when I’m thinking grid, do I make a small grid or a larger grid? Because the larger it is, the more you focus on the installation rather than on the individual paintings within it—and there’s a whole little world in each of those paintings that I’d like you to explore. At the same time, I love that you can travel around the arrangement on a journey of your own choosing, alighting visually on one block of color and remaining there for a long time or just fleetingly before you move on.

My thoughts about arrangement have more questions than answers. But it is those questions that keep me endlessly engaged. And, of course, I hope some of that rubs off on you.

No comments: