I paint to get into that space in my mind—that quiet space where the internal dialogues are silenced, where there is no sense of time. That kind of quiet, deep experience is what I try to create in my paintings.
I am influenced by urban surfaces—the streets, sidewalks, and walls around us. Whether it is graffiti, text, symbols, trash, gum, or spilled coffee, I am fascinated by the amount of unspoken communication, story, and history in these surfaces. Over time they are worn down or painted over, and the cycle continues. I find a deep beauty and complexity in these seemingly simple, mundane surfaces.
My paintings start with a lot of colors and a lot of marks. Frequently there are words, numbers, and symbols—recognizable things. But gradually, layer-by-layer, I obscure them. As I build up the painting, I am quieting it down. In the end, though the paintings have complex textures, they are essentially minimalist surfaces in neutral tones.
I choose my materials for the tactile experience I get working with them and for the textures they allow me to create: oil paint, pigments, and solvent—sand, ash, and dirt. A soft beeswax paste holds it all together. I use texture and surface as field.
- Jerry McLaughlin