My work is an exploration of one of the most ubiquitous elements of our daily visual reality: architecture. I start with the architectural imagery from a Hellenic aesthetic: one of permanence, symmetry and perfection. From that point of departure, I incorporate the Zen sensibility of Wabi-sabi with its respect for asymmetry, incompleteness, random imperfection and focus on nature. The two approaches organically merge as the painting evolves. I deconstruct and rearrange the architectural forms of symmetry and line. Not wanting to destroy them, but instead, melding, layering and comingling to infuse the basic structural elements with the more organic systems of nature, such as roots and vines.
Tactile surfaces in relief and shadow are key elements. Most of my work is on hardboard or stretched canvas. I build layer upon layer of various papers, bamboo, wood, sand, tree wrap, twine, burlap, cloth, drywall tape, etc., intermittently applying thick layers of gesso as I construct. The theme of my product is exemplified in the process as I build up and break down visual elements through folding, cutting, scoring and sanding surfaces.
Color is central to my work. My color palette is intuitively rich and vibrant. I begin each painting with two or three colors for the work in mind. As with the imagery, my color selection unfolds naturally.
Rob Wardell © 2019