calvin burton

Artist Statement, 2019

In my paintings I synthesize geometry and gesture. Straight and curved contours trace movements from points a to b, creating a linear map of surface from end to end. The resulting figural forms brush up against structures of representation— light and shadow, figure and ground; alluding to recognizable motifs— figures in motion, times of day, waves, flora, profits and losses; but the pictorial space remains shallow, haptic, and the allusions never fully impearl around a coherent narrative. While acknowledging the power and inevitability of narrative – the desire to point a painting’s here to an external there, I orient my paintings in the opposite direction, inward, away from what can be cleanly articulated through language.

Linear structures become containers that mold and are molded by my contact with the painting – by brush, rag, stick, hand, and finger. The accumulation of physical moments establishes patterns, activating a rhythm of invisible forces just above and below the surface. As a painting unfolds, legibility becomes membranous, establishing boundaries while facilitating passage across them. Color, ever porous, vibrates up to and across edges, sustaining the moment before resolution congeals into narrative. In this moment, a painting, no longer an image of a thing, becomes a thing, a plural, speaking for itself, pointing from there to here.


Haptic viewing