Formless Form IV
by Mark Pflughoeft
I back-paint Plexiglas using acrylic paints. Sometimes I insert a second layer of painted Plexiglas or painted clear plastic acetate to create more of a layered effect. Lastly I create a 2-D collage layer using painted paper or canvas as a background. The paintings are 2, 3 or 4 layers deep. I apply the paint in a transparent manner, blending thin coats of paint, wet on wet usually. I then etch the wet paint with various scraping tools to create a linear quality.
The Composition Process
The two parts of composition that I focus on most are balance and contrast. Balancing the visual weight in a work is vital to any work of art. One element, be it a swath of color, a line, a texture or form needs to be somehow counter-balanced by another, or the finished piece will visually loose its equilibrium.
My paintings are usually also about conflict or contrast. My colors reach across the color wheel rather than simply moving to ones adjacent to each other. The tension of opposites usually seems necessary in my artwork. Symmetry seldom works. Large versus small, hard-edged versus blended, dark versus light and smooth versus textured are contrasts that appear in the majority of my work. These contrasting components create the vital element of variety.
The Emotional Process
I both write and paint out of restlessness. Often when I create I literally feel a stirring within me, like something has been baking inside me, and now it is done and ready to come forth. I get sort of anxious and awnry, and then I know that it is time to express.
My paintings usually do not have literal meanings except at times when a meaning sneaks up on me in order to explain to me why I just did what I did. Does that mean that I paint unconsciously? Well, most of the time. Recently my work has to do with the perfect order that is behind chaos in the world, the beauty that creates ugliness and the joy of spontaneity that underlies habitual thought. Usually I set up specific visual conflicts for myself to resolve, hopefully in new and surprising ways. The conflicts feel like emotional or energetic confrontations. My job, it appears is to defuse the tension that is created to a degree, and make the scene palatable to view. This approach usually leaves my work with a somewhat striking or energetic quality. The viewer is left with a balanced look at a variety of contrasting elements. Painting must be my way of sorting out conflicts in my world, and it also allows me a means to leave bread crumbs along my trail.