For the past two years I have worked on a series of large-scale oil paintings on canvas, combining painted abstract optical forms and volumetric imagery with parts of the canvas physically altered, sliced and folded, creating areas that expose the wall. This portal or gap in the canvas points toward a real world as we understand it to be, distinct, separate and yet integrated as a component within the actual painting. It is a way to pay attention to the surface of the picture— by destroying its surface and two-dimensionality. With the radicality of this gesture, I am taking part in the old debate about flatness or the problem of the canvas’ outer edge.
I see this cutting less as a violent and aggressive dislocation of the picture and more as a cut of surgical precision that goes through the “skin” of the painting, to the “concrete” architecture that it is contained within, exposing parallel realities. Like the “anarchitecture” sculptures by Gordon Matta-Clark, and the the paintings of Lucio Fontana — most notably his “Concetti spaziali” (Spatial Concepts) — punctured and slit canvases that began in 1949 with the “buchi,” or holes, series, and room installations, I am interested in what is underneath the visible.
Since the cut in a painting intrinsically includes the real, physical world as a component of the work, the placement, setting, and position of the viewer in relation to the painting requires the viewer to be an interactive player, a participant in both observing and simultaneously defining the piece.