TRANSCENDENCE Submission

I recently applied to a juried show called Transcendence at Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Manifest made an international call to artists for “works about going beyond the normal”.

tran·scend·ence
/tran(t)ˈsendəns/ noun: existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level. synonyms: superiority, supremacy, predominance, preeminence, ascendancy; incomparability, matchlessness, peerlessness; excellence, greatness, magnificence, sublimity, importance

Manifest writes, “Something many artists strive for in their work throughout their careers—a going beyond ordinary. But what about work that addresses the idea of Transcendence as a subject, rather than an aspect of the ambition, dedication, and rigor of the artist themselves? How does visual art represent, either through subject, form, or content, a notion which, in some form or another, underlies much of human introspection and civilized activity since our earliest days as a species?”

I submitted 4 works to the jury, hoping to be able to contribute to the show. Here’s what I sent:

  1. Truncated Cube, 12” x 12”, Silver-leaf on faded blue paper

    The Truncated Cube is associated with Angelic Melancholia ever since Albrecht Dürer’s print Melencolia of 1514. Since Dürer, the Truncated Cube makes an appearance in the work of other artists seeking to visualize the heavenly melancholic geometry as a presenence in the world, there are notable works by Anselm Kiefer and Carsten Nicolai.

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2. Metempsychosis, 11.75” x 12.25”, black paint on orange tissue paper, gold leaf, pink paper

Metempsychosis is the transmigration of a soul from one body to another, animal or human. I like to think the soul can transmigrate into the body of a color, becoming blue light, or electricity, a body of water. In any case first the soul flies like a crow in high winds through the dimensions before finding the next body.

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3. Aether, 72” x 54”, burnt canvas, white gesso, gold leaf

Aether is the substance of the heavens first theorized by Aristotle in the book On the Heavens. Aristotle claimed that Aether was the 5th element, and the element that composes the Heavens. Fire is the element that rises, and “the single spark and the whole of fire both seek the same place”.

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4. Jupiter Square, 60” x 60”, powder pink chalk, light blue pencil, white paint, black gesso on canvas

Jupiter Square is a magic square, which means that each of the 36 cells correspond to one of the numbers 1-36. If one were to add the numbers of brush strokes in each row in any direction, up, down, diagonal, the sum would always be 111. The magic square is associated with the planet Jupiter because it works as a shield to the dark anxiety rays of Saturn. Jupiter provides a calming source of order and balance.

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Opposites

Two prints are back from the framers:

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  1. I found the orange tissue paper on the ground in my brother’s garage, a year after making some paintings there. I must have used the orange tissue paper to get paint off the brush before approaching the canvas. The chance-result is similar to things i’ve tried to achieve with “in the wings”.

    The composition occurred because of an engagement with materials, but the work does not reflect an intentional use of directed attention. It remains mysterious to me; a case where something happened, duende.

    I put the gold leaf on pink and glued the orange tissue paper down, its framed with a white matte and the gold frame turns into a bit of a gasoline rainbow when the light hits it in the right angle.

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2. Truncated Cube, silver-leaf on faded blue paper. The truncated cube is an object associated with angelic melancholia. The frame and glass are intended to add dimensions to the geometric construction; 2nd, 3rd, 4th dimensional geometry.

Falling Snow (Jupiter Square)

Falling Snow (Jupiter Square) - 60” x 60” - pale pink chalk, powder blue pencil, white paint on black gesso. 

Painting is a 6x6 Magic Square of numbers 1-36. Brush strokes of squares counted in any direction always add to 111. 


This mathematical logic of balance is associated with the planet Jupiter, acting as a calm shield to Saturn’s rays of dark anxiety and chaos.

Falling Snow (Jupiter Square)

Drawn on a 60” x 60” canvas, A 6x6 Magic square of 54”, each cell being 9”. A Magic square is a mathematical idea of balance, in a 6x6 square there are 36 cells, each number of 1-36 has its place in a cell, and if the cells of any row are added up in any direction (left right up down, diagonally, as well as the inner four squares, and other patterns) the sum will always be 111.

The idea of the Magic Square is associated with the astral influence of Jupiter, seen as a shield to the dark anxiety of Saturn. Jupiter demonstrates the clear path into the future.

New Print from framers

Picked up this silver-leaf Truncated Cube from the framers today, the recessed dimensionality of the frame makes the piece cohesive in concept from drawing to framing. The truncated cube is a often used in reference to angelic melancholia.

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Practice of Recognitions

I found this piece of paper on the ground in my brother’s garage, where I was painting a year ago. It was folded in half, when i opened it I thought it made a better painting that a lot of the things I do on purpose. Sometimes something shows up, or occurs without intention, revelation is the opposite of control. A piece like this is situated in the strange zone between engagement and intention; it gets made by engaging with materials, but could not have been made if I had an intention to make it. Finding it felt like a recognition of something just on the other side of the will. My brother said he thought it looked Japanese, and I thought of those big Japanese paintings made with mop-sized brushes. The paper here is the orange tissue paper that is between sheets of silver-leaf. When I picked up the piece of paper I had a memory occur of having too much medium on my brush before having to make a brush stroke and kind of just whacking it on the orange paper before approaching the canvas. I was painting something that had a similar composition with much more control, the twin black orbs. I think I like the small orange version better. The silver leaf paper was laying around from the painting I did before the black orbs, one called Heavens with the floating geometry.

First snow

I’m in a bit of limbo at the moment while I wait for a canvas order to arrive, so I’ve been clearing and destroying a lot of old work. This one I wasn’t yet able to dismantle, so instead I left it outside to be weathered to see what happens. Overnight we received our first snow of the year. So today I walked out to check on the painting and this is how I found it. There is a hole burned in the first layer of canvas, behind the hole is an aluminum screen, slightly damaged from burning, and behind that is another layer of canvas.

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View from the Studio

Working on a number of things in the studio:

60” x 60” canvas is for Falling Snow, a series of 12 paintings, grids of white paint on clear gessoed canvas. Varying in degrees of luminosity and heaviness of brushstroke throughout series, with slight variation made to size of grid on different canvases.

The Silver-Leaf prints of Truncated Cubes on blue paper are going to the framer’s tomorrow so they can hang in a the 10th Anniversary show at Parlor Gallery in February. I’ve thought about calling them Snowflakes, but they will likely be called Truncated Cubes.

I’m steering course guided by a star of inspiration and spending a lot of time in the studio, today I am ordering 6 more canvases for the Falling Snow series.

Joan Baez music video

This video is the result of a collaboration with Max Nova, a friend and fellow video artist who teaches Video Art at NYU and owns the company Optical Animal. Max brought me on board after being hired by Joan as one of ten NYU professors asked to make a video for her newest album. The two of us collaborated on setting up a still life, isolating an object with projection mapping, and making the projection transform the relations between objects in the frame. The difficult task of this project was to never be too obvious with meaning, we wanted to match the feel Joan creates, and to be in conversation with an elusive spirit of the song.