Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Grid Again

My ink brush paintings measure 27"x 27" and laying six or more of them out on the floor forms a glorious grid. I exchange positions of individual paintings and create new relationships within the grid. The paintings change in relationship to one another and so does the visual meaning of the whole.

The grid is imbued as an explicit metaphor of spirituality. The structure is felt not seen. Does the grid satisfy a human need for order out of chaos, to give us the ability to locate things in space and time in a logical and rational manner?

Yesterday, I woke up with the words, "Field of Tension" in my mind. Field of Tension is a non-grid way of organizing a composition, based on intuition as observing the relationship to elements while one creates a composition. This is basically what happens when I paint.

"The grid has been defined as : an index of the rational, artificial, rigid-but flexible, a measure of scale but scaleless, flat with imitations of depth, stamped with rigidity, and a container that contains itself, that is both form and content. Patrick Ireland, 1998. The grid, a theme innumerable artists have incorporated into their work, has been explained by critics and artists as visual technological metaphors but also is receptive to spiritual metaphors. The most recognizable artist of “The Grid” Mondrian used the grid to express the idea of spiritual harmony and order. He reduced his compositions to the basic essentials of form and color, using horizontal and vertical lines, painted in flawless primary colors and black and white."

There are different kinds of grids, generally for the purpose of providing a felt structure for the ease of information assimilation, but I suspect there is more to the function of a grid than this. There are manuscript grids, modular grids, column grids, deconstructed grids, hierarchal grids, even a margin is a grid; the golden mean, the rule of thirds... isn't the internet or "web" a type of grid? Couldn't language be considered a kind of grid with which to hang our thoughts?

Do we have a need for order? Does it give us comfort even as we have different tolerances for order versus chaos on an order versus chaos continuum.

Transcendental Philosophy, puts forth the idea that an important function of mind is to structure incoming data and to process it in ways that make it more than a simple mapping of outside data. Do we overlay our need for structure, or intuit an underlying pattern in seemingly chaotic life or is there a grid we don't see, rather just sense?