Valis

I finished Valis the other day. This is a photograph of it in front of my fireplace. I’m going to wait to photograph it “professionally” until I’ve finished all 4 of the paintings so that they are photographed in the same light.

Valis

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Valis

Last week I started working on the second painting in the series that I started with Tone Float and The Pleasure of Deceit. The first photograph shows it with just the gouache painted in for the first time and the second photograph shows it with the grey painted in. The second photograph could almost be used for digital purposes since it looks finished but it’s only a third of the way done at this point. The last photograph shows what it looks like from the side as I start applying the second layer; if it’s glossy than I know that it has already been painted.  IMG_0632 IMG_0642 IMG_0644

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Tone Float

I finished the first new painting from the series based on the gouache on paper series that started with the painting The Pleasure of Deceit. For this painting I started by first building the panels using 1/4″ hardwood and 1″x3″‘s and then stretching canvas over them. After priming it I projected the original sketch onto the canvas to mark my corners and then finished drawing it in using a ruler and pencil. I made the lines 3/8″ thick to try and keep the proportions of the original gouache paintings correct; I don’t want the lines to be too thick or too chunky. After I finished with the drawing I painted the orange lines in using yellow (orange) gouache followed by gray acrylic latex paint. The grey paint is actually house paint left over from one of the walls in the house but the original can froze out in the garage this winter so hopefully this new can is close to the original. After the whole painting had been painted once I painted the orange lines again to fill in any left over white areas on the border where the grey and the orange meet. I then painted all of the grey again to try and flatten out the blotchiness of the surface and to continue straitening out the lines. After I finished the second coat of grey I used a sort of scumbling technique using a very coarse brush and a very thinned layer of grey paint to blend the edges around the orange lines. One of the nice things about the non-Acryla gouache paints is that they can be re-activated by adding water to them which makes them easy for blending. I’ve used this technique many times on other paintings like Burning From the Inside and From Safety To Where….? and prefer its blurry organic effect to my earlier hard-edged lines like those in Journey Into the Realm of Reason. The thing is, digitally the difference is mostly imperceivable but I’ll continue to do it anyway and hope that one day I’ll be able to actually exhibit them somewhere so that they can be viewed up close and personal. After scumbling all of my edges and retouching them I painted my last layer of orange and then repainted the grey a third time to really solidify it.

Here is a photo of the initial sketch on the canvas and the final painting leaned up against my fireplace. I’m going to wait until I’ve finished all 4 paintings before I try and photograph them professionally.

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Useless Machine II

Over Christmas break I found some wooden embroidery frames that I thought I could use for the original idea for the Useless Machine sculpture. I had initially wanted 3 circles but thought that they would be impossible to make using the bent wood method that I was using at the time so I settled on having only one circle. I figured that with these wooden frames I could use 2 of the pre-existing circles as they were and make the third circle, the middle one, by splicing in an extra piece. Here’s a photo of the inner and outer circle painted and the middle one glued with a first coat of wood filler on it. Tomorrow I’ll sand it, wood fill it again, and then paint it.

2015-02-05 08.05.08

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The Pleasure of Deceit Gouache

I finished the last gouache painting this weekend. These are all 6.75″x9″and painted on watercolor paper. Here it is.

The Pleasure of Deceit Gouache

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New Website

Last week I redesigned the brianhigbee.net website so that all of the artwork was categorized according to the dates that they were completed. I did this because I thought that splitting up the work according to their project names was too confusing for people to understand. The previous categorization method made sense to me but I started to feel like it was a hindrance in trying to get people interested in my work. Maybe less explanation would be less confusing. I also only have artwork going back 10 years on there and removed all of the “lesser” works in order to create a “greatest hits” website.

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Gouache on Paper

Here are 2 more gouache and acrylic paint on paper pieces. The last one that I’m going to do is a gouache reproduction of The Pleasure of Deceit2 3

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Tone Float

I finished a new gouache and acrylic painting last week called Tone Float that is part of the same series as The Pleasure of Deceit. Like The Pleasure of Deceit these paintings reference a partial viewing from the isometric perspective drawing series A Theory of Forms and Ideas. This continues my exploration into optics and perspective that I started with Opposition and Sister Squares are Reconciled. Right now I have 4 paintings planned of which The Pleasure of Deceit is the first. I’m going to make 4 small gouache and acrylic paintings on watercolor paper and then make them again larger. I’ve decided that I don’t want to continue to make the series the same size as The Pleasure of Deceit (36″x48″) but  to instead make them a 24″x32″ due to storage concerns and cost restraints; The Pleasure of Deceit hangs nicely over my fireplace but I’m afraid that, like the rest of the work that I make, the rest will be left to languish in deep, deep storage.

Tone Float is an album and song by the band Organisation, a precursor to Kraftwerk.

Here is a photograph of Tone Float and a photo of The Pleasure of Deceit above my fireplace.

Tone Float Gouache2015-01-18 20.48.04

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Stroudsburg Middle School

I was educated in the Stroudsburg school district in eastern Pennsylvania. Nothing very exciting about it. Just a bunch of rednecks, jocks and geeks growing up together year after year in the same social circles. From 5th to 8th grade I was sent to middle school which turned out to be a large round school with no walls, part of an experimental “open plan” design that used blackboards, coat racks and tote trays (all on wheels) to separate classrooms.  It felt like you were going to the future!

It was built in 1974 but we used to call it the rusty tin can because by the time we got there the metal that they had used for the outside was all rusted. The first thing that you noticed when you walked in was that there were primary colors everywhere. We were split into 2 halves (mountain and lake) so you never knew who half of the kids were unless you went to elementary school with them. By 8th grade we had been shuffled many times and were now split into A and B sections. We used to have classes like “Exploratory”, “PE Enrichment” (Physical Education) and “Unified Arts” where we learned how to sew, cook and make things out of plastic and wood. There were no windows but only thin glass doors on the outside of the building that we would sometimes go out of to play or have classes; I would often find myself staring out those doors dreaming about the outside. We had no cafeteria, our own pool and small round cubicles for private study.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of being so young and walking into an environment like that but like my Penn Hills Resort post I think that it has something to do with my fascination with 1970’s futurism and failed utopias. They eventually built walls in the school, destroying the very principals of the original design, and repainted the outside to get rid of the rust color.

Here are some photos from an article in the Pocono Record about the school. I don’t know any of the people in the photographs but you can see the school looming in the background. Check out the kids all hanging out on the hill in the second photo and how much the school looks like a Richard Serra sculpture in the third. The last photo shows the inside of the school at a much later date; no primary colors but you get the idea.

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I remember going to use computers there

 

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Future Perfect and Way Out Gallery

Here is what I wrote for the show at Way Out Gallery.

Future Perfect

 

fu’ture per’fect

adj.

  1. 1. of or designating a verb tense or form indicating that the action or state expressed by the verb will be completed by or extended up to a time in the future.

n.

  1. the future perfect tense
  2. a form in this sense

 

These works were gleaned from two separate but related projects that I’ve been working on for the past 8 years: Minimalism Elite, which re-imagines the past, and Future Living Projects, which imagines the future. They are similar aesthetically but differ in context. Minimalism Elite began as a collection of work that looked for inspiration from the past, at a short period of time after the prevailing trends of Modernism but before the post-capitalist strategies of conceptualist art, driven by collectors eager to consume and invest in a new growing corporate art market. Future Living Projects started as an exploration of art that existed somewhere between design and architecture, a theoretical construct to organize potential possibilities for both a utopian and dystopian future.

The sculpture series A Theory of Forms and Ideas takes its name from Plato’s concept of idealized form which postulates the existence of a “reality” inhabited by the ideal or archetypal form of all things and concepts. The sculptures posit themselves as anti-monuments, an articulated set of organized possibilities that inherently create an awareness of scale that shifts the viewer’s relationship away from traditional, monumentalized work, toward a position of enhanced intimacy. Their form is perceived in one instantaneous and inseparable way as mere simple objects concealing the planning and craft needed to complete the final product.

The painting The Pleasure of Deceit offers a mental construction of an insidious fantasy, a projected form that intuits the cynicism of human nature while Journey Into the Realm of Reason, Burning From the Inside and From Safety To Where…? expose the ambiguity of space–between knowledge and fiction and disorder and the Cartesian grid–distorted by unending vanishing landscapes. Perspective is used as a marker of spatial infinity, a visual reminder of the simultaneous existence of both a theoretical probability and physical impossibility, the antinomic dialectic between an optical glitch and mathematical certainty.

The Architect’s Tomb functions somewhere between sculpture and furniture and hints at the possibility of an intrinsically temporal dimension, a space that is internal and external in which nothingness eternally asserts itself as a permanent unknown. Light becomes a hypothesis of suspended physical transformation where mass and energy collapse, imposing a new, more solid and immanent objectuality, an entombed immobility of a future that is both present and past.

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