Although many might disagree with my methodology; that of working through a range of historical antecedents, nevertheless i had to eliminate through trial and error what did not fit in with my aesthetic. I worked my way through and dissected Impressionism, Expressionism, Surrealism, Dada and Abstract Expressionism and ultimately found myself lodged between Minimalism and Hard Edge.
Sometime in 2000 a triangular form surfaced in my experimentation but it was really during 2003 that the triangle began to occur in my compositions and by 2006 it had pretty much lodged itself strongly at the centre of my practice. How did this happen? I'm still not sure but i do know it was a growing dissatisfaction with organic curvilinear forms that pushed me toward more of a hard-edged approach in composition. I began to see the possibilities as i applied this motif to each new series of paintings in a diverse number of ways. I discovered in the process of working that the permutations were infinite and thus to a degree 'sublime.'
Maybe the most significant jump occurred in 2004 when the mode in which i was drawing the surface of the panel dictated the use of 'masking' tape and from there 'taping' became an integral part of my working methodology. It is around this time that the 'grid' and the importance of the relationships between vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines asserts itself into the work. At that time the geometric connection to the triangle, square and 'X' motifs became apparent and almost overnight i made a 360 degree shift. The transitional images below are encaustic on Korean linen on wood panels and were created just prior to the big shift.
This painting consists of four panels and the 'triangles' forming what appear to be 'pinwheels.' The pinwheel form was an important 'intermediate' form and although simple in appearance, is striking and highly functional, allowing me to push my compositions in a new direction.
Sometimes the triangle motif dominates as a central figure or 'icon' in the work enhanced by line or colour in order to heighten the nature of its 'triangularity.' In other work the triangle is multiplied creating a field of overlapping or contiguous forms that serves as an abstract screen or veil behind which might lurk entrance to a greater presence of 'triangularity...ness.' Either way, some very exceptional works of art have been created using this beautiful geometric form!
Suddenly, triangles and their potential dominated what i was doing and my perception changed radically. I saw triangles everywhere, in everything around me; all kinds of triangles, equilateral, scalene, isosceles, hard-edged and curvilinear!
Another artist to check out is Frank Stella who has also produced many interesting triangular painted structures.
There are many distinguished artists working in variant forms of geometric abstraction that include triangles in both 2 and 3D but the list of names is too long to include so if you need a list then click here.
Of course it's impossible not to mention the number 3 and its relation to the triangle's three external points or interior angles. There is a powerful link between cultures when it comes to the meaning and significance of the number three.
Whether in religion, architecture or mathematics, three is accorded a special place in the pantheon of numbers and is considered mystical, sacred, universal and divine. Of course in the secular realm three is also a very useful way of making sense of the world and calculating the relationship its constituent parts have with each other.
Triangles continue to exert their power over my paintings and i'm glad of it. My art has gone through many changes over the last 21 years and i'm always excited about where it will go next. Below is a detail of a recent painting created for an art/science exhibition at Uluru in the Central Desert of Australia called "Unearthing Uluru."
Although not large at 60 x 60 cm, it was a challenging piece, created under challenging conditions as i am studio-less for a time. The triangular sections are easy to see in this close up. Each triangle was individually taped, painted and then untaped. The process can be daunting and time consuming depending on the minuteness of the detail. Essentially, the smaller the triangles the more difficult it gets.
Geometry and the implementation of triangles in my art and also the art of others continues to inspire me greatly!
Click below for a great read on the number 3.