Brice Wood will be showing his work at A Small Art Gallery from October 5th to November 15th. Brice lives in Jerome where he and his wife, Carol, have designed and built their home. A wealth of life experiences along with exposure to an art education beginning at Cooper Union in 1958 and continuing at the more formal School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, informs his abstract paintings, collages and constructions.
In his words:
The “Night Blue” pieces are built on a limited number of visual concerns. The key element in most of these pieces is the contrast of dark blue with black. This combination makes your eyes focus on two planes at once, and it automatically creates a tension. I like that this happens in near–dark.
I’m trying to represent the experience of being in an environment with very few visual clues. It is nighttime, and it is also inside your head. It is starlight on snow, a dark room with a crack of light showing under a door, the patterns fading on your retina when you close your eyes.
These pictures are mostly calligraphy. Brush painting. I’ve found ways to control acrylic paint to produce almost photographic-looking textures. The biggest task in making these images is the slow weeding and combining process. I’m looking for a kind of resonance: a visual tension and drama.
One of the techniques I’ve learned recently, which is represented in the new work, is gel transfer printing. This is a trick that allows me to design and layer brushstrokes with a degree of precision that could not be achieved any other way.
A few words about the folding screens:
These screens are from a series called “Mingus Mountain Repeater”. They are ink on paper on hinged panels. Most of the panels are monotypes but there are also collotypes, intaglio processes, stencils, and direct applications of ink. All the materials are of archival quality.
The central, recurring, image is a microwave repeater tower. There are iterations of the tower image, representations of radiation, nature and geometry, and star maps. The screens are related in scale and effect to Japanese folding screens.
Re the reliquaries and dream theaters:
The reliquaries are part of a series that is concerned with Christian imagery. I am fascinated by the way religious sentiment is expressed in roadside memorials, bumper stickers, and other popular media. I was out driving and a cross made of welded horseshoes caught my eye. How strange, I thought, to combine a good luck symbol with the crucifixion. The image seems to me to contain a potent tension. I explored the idea in a series of pieces including the “Rabbit’s Foot Reliquary”.
Historically, Christian reliquaries appeared after the Crusades. They were vessels meant to display Holy Land artifacts of a sacred nature: hair and nail clippings from saints, bits of cloth, even fragments of the True Cross. The great cathedrals were built to show off these wonders and be destinations for pilgrimages.
The dream theatre pieces are more modern but also concerned with interior states. But instead of the icons of Christianity they explore psychology. They look like puppet theatres or set design models. But what is going on? The viewer is invited into a space that looks a lot like the inside of her or his head.