Michael McDowell: Artist Statement

Recently I decided to concentrate on re-establishing contact with paint as a medium with particular capabilities. This after a time spent exploring specific ideas I wanted to depict with paint. Now it seems the issues are more general and abstract.

It interests me that paint can be applied in a series of layers similar to layers of skin. I am fascinated by what happens when layers of paint cover one another resulting in an obscuring of previous layers. The more layers, the more obscure previous stuff becomes. This has to do with evidence of the evolution of the paintings; something about their history. I like to allow this process to evolve at its’ own pace. I prefer to let layers come about organically, much like how skin heals itself when wounded. In some way this becomes part of the content of these paintings.

Words are like triggers in that they oftentimes set the mind onto a specific course. The words in some of these paintings are some of the things that occur to me while I work. It is not necessarily my intention to steer the mind of the viewer, I simply attempt to let things evolve according to what happens as the brain operates. In some cases, the words become like symbols, however the letters are really just things-in-the-painting. It is possible that they take the place of visual symbols.

I find myself less interested in saying something specific recently and more interested in allowing broader latitude with respect to where one might travel emotionally, psychologically or spiritually. In some way I hope these paintings allow that to happen.