calvin burton

Presiding over accidents, 2013

"The terrible burden of the director is... to select from what happens during the day which movement shall be a disaster and which a gala night. His job is to preside over accidents." -Orson Welles

I am not interested in representing an external idea through my work. Instead I want to develop a kind of psychic state, where each painting is a solipsistic entity that emerges from and refers back to its own internal logic.  In process this consists of engendering an initial structural argument (through movement, rhythm, color) and then following it through.  During this process, my primary goal is to let the painting lead me, without me imposing my visual/aesthetic principles; which means, among other things, avoiding the ever-present tempation to make it 'look good'.  At the same time I am aware that fully achieving this goal is impossible, because my conscious will (influenced by the presence of passing emotions, memories, sensory and aesthetic perceptions) cannot but interpose itself, starting with the very decision to make a painting, measure it out, etc.  In this sense then, my finished paintings could be understood as compromises.  But rather than see this concession as a diminishment of my vision, I find that it is precisely the navigation of these competing forces that breathes life into the work.  The pursuit of a purely automatic process is only one tier of a larger conceptual framework in which the ultimate goal is one of structural conciliation.  A painting succeeds when it has developed an analogical relationship to the world of the spectator (initially me, the painter) – that is, when it relates to the world through analogy as opposed to representation.  The degree to which a painting remains faithful to its abstract state of being defines the terms by which the imposition of external narrative logic is held at bay, and through which reality may be conjured from within. Only by gaining autonomy can the work resonate sensually with the external world.