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Senior Art Exhibit 2007: John Caldwell

Senior art exhibitor, John Caldwell

John Caldwell

I have always liked the method of letting the painting paint itself, so that the artist is only a channel for which this abstract idea can find form in this world. Some may ask why my paintings do not contain any color in them. But aren't black and white colors in themselves?? I focus on the relationships between abstract forms on the canvas, rather than a recognizable object or idea. I believe that anything I paint is just strokes of paint of canvas. Though I may strive to put more into each, or though someone may look for deeper meaning in the paintings, they still exist on the physical level of paint on canvas.

This being said, the process of painting each work is important to the final product. Layers, omissions, and texture populate the otherwise two dimensional surface of the canvas. As time moves during the creation process, so too does the painting transform. I do not have anything in mind when I begin a painting. I let the painting surface, and as the image approaches something complete, more than just a random pattern, the process is slowed down and I begin to pay attention to the subtle details.

I do not try to make works that are either happy or bleak. Instead, I feel each painting ends up as a snapshot manifestation of a particular unspeakable abstract idea, beyond words. Words are limited because of their basic nature of duality, or being defined by opposites. I believe images can go beyond that to express simultaneously, and without contradiction: truth, irony, emotion, the absurd.

I have always liked listening to and making music. I think the paintings, despite their chaotic surface, contain a good deal of structure and cadence that is inspired by music. I explored the ability to have no structure within the world of abstract painting, only to find the balance and structure emerge independently.

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