194: Writing an Artist’s Statement

Eventually every artist has to write an artist’s statement. I have an abstract show in a few weeks–the first for me in that genre–and the gallery requested a statement.

I reviewed a lot of approaches. It’s an abstract show so I could be philosophical, even didactic. But I abandoned that approach as too inaccessible. I could intertwine my statement with my history. But that seemed too complex and irrelevant. I decided I needed a statement that got to the heart of why I paint abstracts yet be entertaining and perhaps even playful.

After weeks of introspection I decided I paint abstracts to achieve a timeless frame of mind–a state where time stands still. The emotions of timelessness are then potentially transferred to the viewer as they contemplate the painting. I remembered a prose poem I wrote in my graphic novel Cypher entitled Moment in Time that plays with the the feeling that time is elastic and can be manipulated. I found a copy of the book and condensed the prose poem into a new version. I’m using it as my artist’s statement:

I paint to stop time.

To lengthen time I fill it with nothing. I empty the moment, let the edges shrink, until it becomes nothing.

To shrink time I fill it with everything.

To suspend time I layer color on texture—each layer frozen in time.
When viewed the paint is dissembled in reverse moments of layer over texture over color—and time stands still.

No doubt some will still find this too philosophical or even pretentious. But it has several advantages over many statementsit is short, it has a sense of fun, and most importantly, it is actually true. Whether everyone will have a time-altering experience when they observe my paintings is another matter. I did when I painted them. I still do as an observer.
Brad Teare–October 2014

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Updated: 24th November 2020
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