Abscissa of Geometric Precision

 

 

Who are you and what do you do?

IMG_0132

I am an acrylic painter working in 3 styles: Architectural Abstraction, Political Pop and Metal Mayhem. In my current show “Abscissa of Geometric Precision”, I am focusing on the Architectural Abstraction style centered around parallel lines and 30/60/90 degree angles.

measurement

What is this bizarre title about.. “Abscissa of Geometric Precision”?

I thought the concept of an Abscissa in advanced geometry was a great definition of what I was trying to achieve artistically in a brief word. Abscissa is simply the perpendicular (90 degree angle) distance from a point from the vertical axis. It was first used in 1220 by Fibonacci.

abscissa

Didn’t Fibonacci have a ratio of some sort used in art?

Yes, this is a sequence of numbers that add the last two numbers to get the next one. Basically, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc. Artists used this in squares, which leads to the Fibonnaci spiral.   These numbers were the basis to the Renaissance.

fibonnaci

Do you use the Fibonacci numbers in your works?

No. I did though have a long career in Finance crunching large quantity of numbers and its effect on the mind. After awhile, many people in the field see “lucky” numbers with the random occurance of some sets of numbers.  Some nations have particular lucky numbers: in China its 4 and 8, in the West its 7, in India the number should end on a 1, say 11, 121, etc. One of my political pop paintings 303 Signatures uses the 0, 8 “lucky” numbers in China to show misfortune in the 2008 earthqaukes, where 5000 children died in shoddy constructed school buildings.

sample drip

Why do you have splashes and drips in your work?

I like to break the perfection of the piece and it’s a device I grabbed from the artist Kofie. For the drips, I feel like that is the sadness of life and tragedy we all live through.

Are there inspirational artists that impacted you for this style?

Screen shot 2016-04-21 at 9.10.47 AM

Tom Thomas

My art professor, Tom Thomas, did his abstracts in class so I could learn a cutting edge version of art with tape in oil. Once I started my own style I immediately went to angles and contrasts in oil. Over time, I drifted away from oil as it is too slow in the drying process and you can achieve very similar effects in acrylic, but only wait 15 minutes for each layer to dry vs. 1 week with oil.

Screen shot 2016-04-21 at 9.12.05 AM

Augustine Kofie

Another artist that changed my free flow tape abstracts was Kofie Augustine. In his works, he has 3D atmospheres in the work along with parallel lines with this spray of paint on corners. In my work, I changed to a fixed angle look, so all the lines are parallel are in a fixed relation. Initially, I used some of the rounded edges of Kofie, but really didn’t feel it was my style and went to pure hard-edge angles. Additionally, I used a much more exaggerated spray of paint to increase the drama in my pieces. Additionally, I love the use of some primary colors and boldness in my work.

Screen shot 2016-04-21 at 9.14.17 AM

Prabin Badhia

I paint regularly with Prabin Badhia at 4th Street and picked up his focus on piece by piece works and use of painterly effects in the work vs. perfect smooth surfaces. I love the drama between paint strokes and harsh lines. I like the feel of how the image changes from 20-30 feet to 10 feet to right up close.

IMG_2628

Where do you see this style evolving to?

Hard to say at this point. I feel I have almost reached the conclusion of the current tenets I use in this style without expanding the rules, colors or some other element in this style.

IMG_2653

How do you define the space while painting?

If you look at my work, especially this style, you will see every inch used up to the far corners. My work seems to be a close up of the actual larger painting. I feel that having a lot of negative space is a waste. I understand the use of negative space to define the focal point, but my work has competing focal points. The paintings are at war with themselves. Additionally, I like to play with the layers between colors and how they redefine the space itself. Sometimes the relationships are obvious and then there are subtle continual line relationships that you may see only close up.

IMG_2660.JPG

What do you think of abstract vs. realism?

I like to play in both worlds. I think many artists are overly dependent on the iPad as a crutch. Some artists premix all the colors in oil, then grid out a landscape or whatever subject they are working on and literally fill in the colors. They get a great impact, but I really like to play with the colors as they layer over one another.

Screen shot 2016-04-21 at 9.19.39 AM

As far as realism, there is definitely room to play in, but many artists get stuck in copying fruit, landscapes, portraits, pets, etc. I really wouldn’t consider this cutting edge, but definitely a great craft. The great realists already did most topics; the artist really needs to break new ground, realism or abstract. You can say the same thing on abstraction. You’ll see an artist copy another previous style and produce that. It again gets back to producing a kind of commercial copy art, but I would call it more decorative art. Of course, you have to make a living, so if you can make money in this game, then more power to you.

How do you relate to other geometric painters like Malevich or Piet Mondrian?

square

Kazimir Malevich

Malevich did the famous square paintings set in the corners of room hung unorthodox during the early Soviet propaganda painting years before Stalin purged Suprematism to bland Socialist Realism, which Picasso painted as a stooge of the USSR and North Korea, some of the fiercest and cruelest dictators man has known. I liked Malevich’s first take, but he got stuck in the square format. He actually was banned to paint in the USSR later in his life. So it is unknown what could have been without stifling dictatorship dictating what is and is not art.

Screen shot 2016-04-21 at 9.23.01 AMScreen shot 2016-04-21 at 9.24.46 AM

Piet Mondrian

Mondrian was amazing in that he lived through the evolution of Impressionism and living in it and then breaking radically into squares, lines and primary colors we know now. He did get stuck in this last style and never veered from it. I believe an artist dies if he adheres too long to one style. This was one of the reasons Picasso art became so valuable later was his vast versatility to always deviate from previous styles to new ones. Of course, his later works became quite stale in my opinion of over repeating sameness.

Where can I buy the work?

You can check online the works in the show here.

Interview on “Crying in the Cairo Curfew” painting

Image

Why did you paint this painting?

When I saw the crowds gathering in Tahrir Square to overthrow the 30 year reign of “president” Mubarack, I knew I had to start a painting on the revolution.  This was the first revolution started on Twitter and Facebook.

ImageImage

How did the social media make a difference?

Social media allowed the citizens to organize its protest groups and outwit the state police sent to disperse the gathering people.  The police literally could not stay ahead of the breaking news via social media.

Image

What were the triggers to this revolution?

I believe strongly that the historic election of Obama and making his speech in Cairo sent a shock wave across the muslim world where no black man had ever risen to power.  Here was a man of the people overthrowing the established powers that be in a visible way.

ImageImageImage

Why did the Mursi, the recently elected president go wrong?

First, I would say that it was a shame that they didn’t use democratic means to overthrow Mursi.  Second, the Supreme Court prepared the way for chaos by completely dismissing the recently elected Parliament.  That election was not totally clean, but was very important to frame the new Presidency of Egypt and curtail any abuse.  Once Mursi was completely in power he made the mistake of overstepping his power and not seeking consolation from all parties in moving forward.  Additionally, the current mess is mainly due to overly bureacratic government that was there before Mursi came to power.

What were the underlying problems in Egypt?

Besides the dictators posing as Presidents in Egypt, there are several out-of-control issues.  One of the major issues is real estate with 92% of property held without title or basically most of the countries private wealth.  Without title, no financing can be done, so the property is severly underdeveloped.  This is also why most cars are bought with cash, so only 10-20 year cars are imported since citizens can only come up with $2000 – $3000 to buy a car in cash.  Another major issue is that 6.8 million people work in the black market or one in every 12 people in Egypt due to lack of paperwork to make the work or the business legal.  This leads to major frustration as small shops can never become chains or large corporations.  So inefficient large businesses remain in power; there is no positive destruction of bad business like in the West.

Image

Is there a book on this economic tragedy?

Yes, Hernando de Soto wrote an excellent book on the economic problems of Egypt and other 3rd world countries called, “The Mystery of Capital”

 

Is the painting available?

No, but you can get a print at http://fineartamerica.com

 

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

Yes. I send about every 4-6 weeks at http://shawnshawn.co/Site/Contact

Qatari poet jailed for life for poem celebrating the Arab Spring

I found this great blog on http://www.artthreat.net. Check it out!

Qatari poet Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami was sentenced to life in prison for writing and performing a poem celebrating Tunisia’s Arab Spring.

The poet’s lawyer, who is appealing the decision, has said that the trial was held in secret, the poet was not allowed to defend himself or even to enter a plea. According to an article inThe Guardian, Ajami was charged with “insulting the Gulf nation’s ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and inciting to overthrow the ruling system”, a crime punishable by death.

Ajami is a third-year student at Cairo University studying literature.  The poem came to public attention after a video was posted on Youtube. Ajami has been in solitary confinement since his arrest in November 2011.

Qatar is home to the international news network Al Jazeera, including Al Jazeera English whose coverage of the middle-east and international news in general has garnered increasing respect from Western audiences.   It is a cruel irony indeed that the government that funds such journalistic integrity also restricts freedom of speech in such a violent and reactionary manner.