Date of Award
Senior Scholars Paper (Colby Access Only)
Colby College. Art Dept.
My first artistic inspirations were dressed in formal attire. Painting from direct observation I developed. a deep interest in the creation of illusory three-dimensional space. I specifically was interested in how light, color, and composition manipulated space. The subject matter in these studies consisted of landscapes, figures, and interiors. My work started to change when I began to view my formal training in realism as a tool with which to express ideas rather than as an end in its own. In the fall of 1991 I attended the San Francisco Art Institute. It was an ideal arena in which to explore this creative expression. The content of this work addressed constructions of stability within close personal relationships. Formally, this work continued with my figurative and spatial concerns but departed from direct observation as my sole artistic source. Although these works displayed deeper levels of thought and solid technical facility, the lack of integration between the content and the formal aspects of this work left room for future growth. This year I have departed from the controlled and illustrative work I completed at the San Francisco Art Institute. The new images result from a higher level of risk taking enabling greater artistic growth. The progression within my work during this time reflects my serious questioning of my analytic and logical thinking which has been reinforced by a scientifically oriented family and scientific educational background. By diminishing the role of realism and literal depiction of imagery, room was made for invention and intuition in my work. This shift in emphasis promoted an inward examination of a deeper and more effective nature. The transformation in my creative intent was accompanied by formal developments in the work. The embryonic stages of this growth first occurred in the paintings, where an explorative series of charcoal drawings provided the backbone for development. Thebalance between abstract and representational imagery, strong linear elements, the layering of multiple images, and ambiguity in spatial relationships are all important in this new work. The interaction of these elements offers a direct challenge to traditional methods of constructing space. The ensuing complexity of visual imagery reflects the complexity of the content of the work. The series of charcoal drawings stands on its own, but its original function was to promote rapid growth and change in a medium that is both facile and was new to me. These works enabled me to return to painting at a different point from which I departed. The new paintings suggest a maturation of ideas as well as formal ability that resulted from the charcoal drawings. The content of the most recent work evinces my current personal and academic interests in relationships among men, homophobia, and the redefinition of masculinity. The work of John Stoltenberg, Refusing to be a Man, as well as the work of feminist writers has been informative and inspirational in this process. Literary sources, experiences in my personal life, and the work itself are crucial to the evolution of my artistic vision. My paintings and drawings serve as working spaces in which to explore questions rather than articulate answers.
Painting, Charcoal drawing
Recommended CitationMiles, Eric, "Exploration in oil painting and charcoal drawing" (1993). Senior Scholar Papers. Paper 458.
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