Shapes swirl around objects. Marks and words and lines meander through the field of forms I have created on a plane. And then they get hung up on the wall, looked at, thought about, and taken home.
My solo exhibition has created so many new problems for me to solve, and these problems I have been working on over the course of a year.
I remember when I bought the large piece of scrap canvas that ended up being Where toxic Clouds Blocked Out the Northern Lights, and with no end in mind, stapled the raw canvas to my studio wall. I had no idea how to begin this new work, so I whipped out my projector and began to google search through natural imagery, ending up painting lakes, clouds, and trying to capture the undulating forms of the Aurora Borealis on the canvas as a video time lapse of them danced across the surface.
This piece came together in many stages and has a large amount of personal symbolism, and has become the star of this exhibition, at least for me. Central in the gallery is this monster of a painting, proudly stating the word LEGACY among the marks that dance around the rectangle.
Raw canvas, negative space, and the white paper have become a background for me, a surface for me to state my platform and a venue for me to speak about the natural world in a way that makes sense to me.
Growing up in a Christian household I always thought that the world around me was governed by the power of God. Your fate was decided by Him and God saw everything that you did, good or bad, with your life residing in His hands.
The more I grow older and begin to diverge from this thinking I am seeing the universe act as a god more than this idyllic image of the Creator. Everything is connected in the universe, and everything functions based on the interaction that it has with the force next to it.
This works attempts to capture the way that my mind works, the way that I see the universe around me functioning, and the thoughts I was taught leaving my frame of mind. The only way for me to change and grow as a person and an artist is to confront the things that block my way, and most of the thoughts in this work are doing just that. Spouting out words and images purge them from my mind, and they remain captured on the surface forever.
As I grow and change, I think that my work will become more positive, more uplifting, and brighter. The darkness and anger that come through with this body of work will start to dissipate as my thought process begins to become my own. But for now the work needs to hold this anger and aggression so that I do not.
Thanks to Next Gallery for bringing me in as a member and for supporting my work.
Images and words by Drew Austin. See all the work in this exhibition here.