The Carved Quince Series
Carved Red Quince - 20" x 16" - Mixed Media
I bought some Quince branches earlier in the year, around February, and found them very charming and evocative. The nature of the line that these branches create- slightly angular and almost hesitating in their direction- reminds me of the sort of line quality found in certain Asian ink drawings. In addition, I find Quince blooms to be exceptionally pretty.
The paintings in this series divide the picture plane. I chose to divide this painting into three sections in order to offer a poetic narrative about nature. The carved Quince branch at the top is the tree in bloom, a metaphor for hope and fresh starts, offering beauty to the world. The left section as we face the painting is also carved, and while I intended it to represent the bark of a tree, it also can be seen as a flow of water or as a cross section of the tree at a cellular level. The right section illustrates the grain of the wood panel, but also functions symbolically as a wave pattern, whether in water or soil or sand.
In a way, this painting, and others in this series, represent a celebration of the wood panels that they are carved on. Formerly, I had used these panels as a substrate for other paintings. I noticed, however, that the panels themselves were quite lovely, and this led to the idea of this series. Over 15 years ago I had done relief printmaking, first carving and then printing wood and linoleum blocks. The carving tools were still in my possession, and this made it easy to begin this investigation of these panels.
Finally, I must note the influence of Asian art on this series, particularly that of Japanese painters. San Francisco has always had a strong Japanese presence, and is blessed by a wonderful Asian Art Museum. While I have studied widely in many areas of art history, I have always admired the use of negative space in Japanese paintings. I am also moved by the surprising way that objects enter the picture plane, in a way that is both sensitive and dramatic. These qualities are found in this painting and in this series.
I am a San Francisco artist who enjoys making art and visiting art exhibits.