STATEMENT ON PAINTING
Since being human is living a strange kind of existence I choose to participate in the drama of making art. For me this practice of creative force is an expression of all personal life experience and a deliberate voice for one's time and culture. It is also about digesting that lofty impression and projecting a shaped narrative that helps make sense of it all.
People seem to exist in a constant state of flux as we learn more about ourselves and the world around us; we are shelves filled to their breaking point. To me, It feels like a juggling act to find the balance between going too far into simplicity or sinking too far into darkness. I always catch myself a bit confused, anxious or scared. Ultimately, I am hopeful and ever curious. I’m always surprised by nature's beauty.
In searching for a creative focus, I've fallen prey to painting--it's act is infinitely challenging. Painting is a way to bring precedence and singularity to an image through the ritual of mark making and color; It is the handmade property of the medium that best reveals its forethought and deliberation. Authoring a unique object of any kind seems to go strictly against much of contemporary life--it's a kind of art rebellion unlike anything from its distant past.
In concept, I find it necessary to ask questions and inspire a dialogue relating to who we are and what defines our impact on each other and our surrounding planet. I tend to focus on the darker aspects of life--the things that cause the most complexity or problematic behavior. While I am conceptually and intellectually inclined--my work explores emotion and intuition as much as anything.
When painting a model my focus is a bit more grounded, it is important to capture the essence of their likeness in order to bring authenticity to the subject matter. I want to record someone real, living in today’s world. Often models will play a role and portray a feeling or state of mind that they are familiar with much like an actor/actress. This gives room for a collaborative effort. Sometimes the models are interacting with various objects which are usually familiar commodities or appliances. These gadgets are used poetically as symbols and extensions of the body or psyche. The setting for the figures compliments or sets up a duality between the foreground events and the space of the background.
The research for the work comes from a multitude of places, experiences and interests. I regularly keep an ongoing library of images, scenarios and incomplete storylines. Then typically I will piece some of these ideas together into a “complete narrative”.
As far as techniques are concerned, I have adopted various painting influences from Baroque to twentieth century realism. Although I generally paint from a combination of photographic source and life painting, I do not project or graph. I work with the concern for underpainting, alla prima, color, descriptive painterly application and over-glazing. These five concerns of painting are routinely conceptualized through composition and theme.
© 2021 Eric Ridge