I am interested in a painted mode of communication that can appeal to any person regardless of specific class, gender or cultural interests. To approach this mode of communication, I am making paintings that are abstract, generic and systematized. I am developing a language that speaks to all walks of life as I have become fascinated with the way in which rules and procedures cause both tragedy and beauty in society. For example, religious belief can lead you to provide aid for the poor, or to commit mass murder, both acts stemming from a contingently generated system of strictures, often delivered in the unassuming form of a book. My project is to find a visual system that denies conflicting interpretations while highlighting the logic that underlines all systematic decision making. If logical decision making is the fundamental human game of giving and asking for reason, how can that be played out through painting?
The actualities of painting are a kind of taxonomy: color, line, form, texture and value. These are the building blocks of visual apprehension and are the distinct, concrete elements that I configure into novel painted situations. By isolating the character of each of these elements, they begin to operate on their own terms, creating as close to an ideal basis as is possible for the development of a generic system of clear decision making. The elemental marks align on a square grid to produce a series of hard-edge tonal abstractions. Each painting begins with a composition drawing mapped out on graph paper. One basic ground rule is to maximize occupied space while keeping 1:1 ratio of unoccupied space between each component. Other choices are intuitive and arbitrary such as painting size, color scheme and progression of lines- these aesthetic incidents do not affect the global logic at work. Incidental choices like theses are stage actors, whose fates are sealed despite the plays trajectory. Dependent on1 the area of the grid as well as the size of the canvas, a minimized second or third iteration of the overall schema may appear. Measurement is essential to the systematization of my paintings. It is the normalizing factor that allows these universal elements to coexist in paint space. Adhering to the rigid schema of imperial measure any random expressivity is flattened into pure productivity, becoming self-referential and regressive, a metaphor for the endless “play-bor” of our digital existence.
Following the logic of mid-60’s conceptual art, each move in my painting is plotted and executed towards maximum clarity of intent, that being the realization of a generic mode of systematization. This is an attempt at viewing logic in broad daylight, or under track lighting as it were. I reject shadowy mysticism in art, obfuscation is a tool of oppression. Opacity, refusal to play the game of giving and asking for reasons leads to the dire uncertainties of life- jealousy over a lover, overwhelming student loan debt, unattainable working visas, improperly prescribed medication, housing discrimination and beyond. If there is any benign principle it is: information = dignity = meaning. To be sure, expressionism is summarily denied, the paintings are algorithmic, plugging different problems of systematization into the same formula, a kind of cure-all, or decoder ring for painting. However, I have not yet achieved critical mass.
And so, compromise is composure. Blue prints, screen resolution tests and toy labyrinths are visual relatives of my paintings. Each piece is a diagram and a record, a prescription and a description; in essence: You need this, you are this. These data-centric placards are experiential models, operating on two levels as image and program both looked at and inside of. In this way systematized objects continue or combust on their own abstract terms. When the elements of line, color, value, texture and form coalesce, a system of latent tendencies become manifest and the underlying organizational principle becomes clear. In developing this systematic approach to painting, questioning the underpinnings of logic and decision making I ask: Can there be such a thing as synthetic freedom?
Alexander Puz, 2018