calvin burton

Artist Statement, 2019

My paintings are a synthesis of geometric and gestural approaches. Straight and curved contours trace movements from points a to b, creating a linear framework that “maps” the surface from end to end. The resulting figural forms brush up against structures of representation— light and shadow, figure and ground, sometimes 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 settle around a coherent narrative. I acknowledge the inevitability of narrative – the desire to point a painting’s here to an external there. But I attempt to orient my paintings in the opposite direction, inward, towards the periphery of what can be articulated through language.

Linear structures also serve as containers that collect and shape the contingencies of contact between medium and surface – by brush, rag, stick, hand, or finger. The accumulation of these physical moments manifests in unforeseen patterns, which in turn generate rhythm, enabling the articulation 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 occurs. A painting, no longer an image of a thing, becomes a thing, a plural, speaking for itself, pointing from there to here.


Haptic viewing