the anatomy of touch

the anatomy of touch was a small body of work comprised of 10 paintings – five small paintings (mostly 12″ x 12″ or smaller) and  five larger paintings (4′ x 6′).

the small paintings began with the discovery of a 1950’s plastic model kit for children, that explained how the sense of touch worked (and hence, the title for the small works was, ‘the anatomy of touch’).  in the paintings, i used various parts of the kit (magnified parts of a fingertip) as well as the instruction sheet, as building blocks for abstract images.

the second group was titled group of paintings, ‘the alchemy of the verb’, which worked with the entire series of model kits – one for each of the senses. at some point i started to think about the five senses in relation to the five vowels, and so, i brought rimbaud into the fray via his text “the alchemy of the word” where he gives each of the five vowels a color equivalent. (later on i used these vowel color equivalents in numerous translations when coding the alphabet to colors… and the artist terry fox, long before me, also used rimbaud’s color/vowel equivalents in many of his works.)

these paintings were an early attempt was to take didactic information and to open it up into a kind of fragmented and poetic voice. at the time i was beginning to use a lot of translation systems (not just vowels and colors, but trying to find ways so that the ‘information’ i was looking at might suggest determined paths, but also chance operation, as well as room for intuitive image building.

basically i was interested in the tension between rules and freedom, which remains a strong anchor of my process.

in 1999, the small paintings were exhibited at the korn gallery at drew university in madison new jersey, and both groups of paintings were shown 6 months later at jenn joy gallery in san francisco.