Shower Painting


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Shower Painting
The work of creating is inextricable from the outcome, a good creative experience yields a good result.
When I start on a piece, my head leaves my body and is hovering out in the ether working on it. Whatever else I may be doing, part of my mind is absent, at work on the piece. I am drawn on hypnotically until the journey of creating rounds a bend and opens inward to reveal a new view that I take in for a split second. In the beginning, the search for a work's identity is my catalyst, but at the point when the work gets an identity the journey becomes the destination, the line blurs so that work's identity is no longer as important a motivation as that it is the visual document of the creative process.
I state that creating is a integral to my life. It is not so surprising then that, when considering how to resolve the issue of lifting the ink "stains" from areas of a piece, that I take it into the shower with me. Maybe this was emblematic of a deeper level of physical intimacy that I was willing to share with my paintings and what literally amounts to a more physically intimate process? The remark by Tim Gumto that my "paintings have now seen me naked" illustrated that if I am willing to be naked in front of my paintings as part of the process, and this should somehow influence the painting, then it is quite clear that in the same way as the viewers idea about the medium of a piece may influence the way it is experienced, it is also true that the process has both an impact not only on the creation of the piece but on how it is seen and perceived —the extension of this intimacy with my work to the viewer though these photos is validation that vulnerability and especially intimacy is a very important aspect of my work— after all the process of art is not completed with the last "stroke".
The other side to my showing this is that it provides insight into my creative boundaries. I am very aware that there are certain formal artistic boundaries that define my work, one boundary that I do not have which is common to many painters is that of working out of a studio that is separated off physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually from the world of every day life. Shower painting is illustration of the intimacy that is made possible for me as a result of removing this boundary and a visual record validating the assertion that my visual art comes with me out of the studio setting.
The importance I place on both intimacy —also partially explaining the smaller scale of much of my work— and a boundaryless studio has sent me on creative, stylistic and as here demonstrated technical adventures that I am not sure could have happened if my work was moated in by the safety of a traditional studio setting.


• Photo credit, Joy Bernstein, © 2003

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