Monday, December 8, 2014

Around We Go

“Around We Go” is a 60x82 inch acrylic and collage painting on wood panel.  The general idea behind all of my work is a combination of looking back at history in an attempt to understand how we got here and a comment on how we are collectively moving through time together in the present.

This painting is no exception.  In it I use circular forms, wheels, and plants growing, among other images, to represent time passing, like clocks ticking.  In the top right of the painting it reads “First, Full, Last, New,” referring to phases of the moon.

The large, clock–like circle on the top left, over the car, was taken from a textile from India. The line drawing of the horse on top comes from a drawing I did of a Sioux Indian wooden effigy that I saw in a museum. The long stretched-out car is my design, from which I have made several sculptures in wood and metal.

I grew up on Narragansett Bay in RI, so the water and boat metaphor is a consistent theme, hence the two people in the boat on the left, going into their futures.

I love to read about history and use references to what I’m reading. I was reading Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, about the Lewis and Clark expedition, so I used William Clark’s handwriting from his diaries, “We Proceed On,” on the bottom of the painting. This phrase represents how we all just keep on through challenges in life to get to where we are going.

After high school I went to California and ended up working in the carnival for several summers while in art school in San Francisco (I graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute), so the ferris wheel is a metaphoric image I use as a reference to time, fun in life, and getting the proper prospective on life from a higher viewpoint.

The little white house on the bottom is a nearby abandoned country house. We live in rural Tennessee and these ”ghost houses,” as I call them, are all around us. I see them as monuments to days gone by
and country ways that are fast disappearing. “Around We Go” has many references and metaphors. I use the term “we” when talking about my work because I feel like I am making my work for all people and referencing things that we all experience.

“Around We Go,” circling the sun, rotating on our axis, riding the ferris wheel of life together.When making these paintings I don’t begin with a plan or sketch. I gather images and materials, begin with one element, respond to that, and then keep adding things until a story or title presents itself. It is an open, organic process where I am only in control some of the time. I start with a wood panel (¼ inch birch with a grid frame on the back), do some carving and embedding of objects and then begin to paint with acrylic paint. I probably worked on this painting for a month or six-weeks, building up layers of color and texture, adding and subtracting until it filled itself up.

The colors refer to the hopeful colors of Spring.

Andrew Saftel
Pikeville, TN
November 2014