Early paintings in 2014 started with a focus on more broad areas of diffuse, poured paint in saturated tones and quickly took a significant turn towards all-over white light in the later pieces. I've been focusing more and more on the removal layers--the often hair-thin remnants of paint left after removing the partially dried layer with pressurized water--by highlighting their role against more stark, white backgrounds. The incidental pops of color are more of an afterthought to the action of these layers. Or, in some cases, allowing large white pours to remain on top of the final painting, with nothing at all added to this final step. 2014 seems to be a transitional year; the paintings are changing, my thoughts are changing about the work and what it should be. It's hard to put anything into words, but you can see it happening in the work itself.
2015 continued with an interest in the "white out" of the later works from 2014. More and more use of white occurred although my methods, composition, etc, began to flux a little. And, by mid-2015, color is gradually but dramatically re-introduced. In many ways, I think the white paintings from 2014 and early 2015 paved the way for the re-introduction of saturated color later in 2015--a forest fire to promote new growth, so to speak. Below is the full exhibition statement for the exhibition that showcased these paintings:
Exhibition Statement for "Wash: New Paintings by Greg Minah"
Water shapes things. It erodes and transplants; it pools and it dries away. It conspires with the ground to carve and bend and draw the landscape. “Wash: New Paintings by Greg Minah” showcases the co-authorial role that water has as an instrument in my artmaking.
My work has always been a collaboration between artist and material. Poured acrylic paint is manipulated not with a brush but by tilting, turning, and rotating the painting itself.* In her essay, “Paint Awash on a Shifting Ground,” retired director of the Baltimore Museum of Art Doreen Bolger writes:
"Despite the seeming spontaneity of Minah's work, there is incredible control, with the movement of his body in relation to the canvas determining the outcome. In an odd way, this action becomes the antithesis of Pollock's own painterly gestures, which directed the paint to a stationary ground before or below him. Pollock moved the pigment; Minah moves the ground."**
This process also involves the removal of partially dried layers of paint with pressurized water, leaving (usually) opaque remnants of paint applications. But the paintings presented here, all from 2015, while still physically manipulated to direct the behavior of the paint, have had water introduced, at times, more gradually and more broadly.
In these works, paint is often eased away--kindly coaxed by sheets of water. I’ve used larger applications of water to slowly and gently affect the material over longer periods of time. After the initial moves, the canvas might be propped up at an angle to allow these veils of water to pull and spread the paint over greater areas. The wash, encouraged but unhurried by gravity, works on the pigment methodically. Sweeping visual statements are written with subplots and footnotes intermixed. Rather than completely removing any evidence of the wash as I’ve done in earlier works, here, I’ve allowed the footprints to remain. As a result, the layers become more ethereal. Line, shape, and color freely exchange breath and brainstorm ideas until a kind of drone harmony takes form.
I consider these paintings to be sorts of landscapes, connoting the growth and decay of terrain sculpted by natural force. I’m a participant in these pieces, pivoting with the unpredictable nature of fluid paint. And at times I’m simply an observer, gazing at the material flux in the same way one gazes at the sea. A crashing wave disrupts the sand, scattering anything in its path. Then it soothes the sand as it draws away and washes things into place."
*To watch a short video highlighting this painting method, go to vimeo.com/33253072
** A link to the electronic version of the exhibition catalog “Greg Minah: Shifting Ground, Selected Paintings 2008-2014,” which includes the full essay, can be found on my website gregminah.com