Over years of making art I’ve often called my work abstract. It’s a convenient term that lets me slip out of defining what I do or why I even make art. In rare conversations about art, once I say I make abstract art the other person often nods and says something like, “Oh, I like abstract art.” After a pause, the conversation shifts to the cost of gas or a program I didn’t watch on television. Another version of the conversation tends to end with “I don’t understand abstract art.” But the talk about gas and television still follows.
When I think about abstract art and my imaginary conversation with an art critic, the scenario is either as simple or complicated as my mind wishes at a given moment. My abstract art usually mixes observations of a place or thing with something more ephemeral or even similar to prayer.
I made a photograph of a grain elevator because I liked how light reflects off the forms. I also thought about the grains stored in these structures and our modern food chain of distribution. Finally, I took close up photographs of repairs made on the forms. The close up photographs appear as abstract paintings someone would hang in an apartment overlooking Central Park. But man, gas is still over three bucks a gallon.