BARBARA GILHOOLY

Statement

 

 I work on wood because I’m interested in the surface and layers of a painting. I was trained as a printmaker, with a strong background in drawing. Line is an important element in my work.  I start with layers of paint on wood panels and build a rich active surface before a composition evolves.  I carve linear patterns into the wood surface. I work intuitively as I apply paint with brushes and cards; or remove layers with sand paper, Windex, or carving.

 

I’m drawn to certain ingredients such as:  layers, botanical, towers, maps, circles, and pattern.   Circles have been with me the longest, since graduate school, so for over 20 years. I identify with the obvious references to the shape; centered, wholeness, sphere, etc. However, the attraction for me is the playful quality a circle or sphere evokes. I appreciate the fact that a circle/sphere is both an organic and a geometric shape. I am interested in contrasting and blending the industrial and the natural world.  

 

In my paintings the structure is usually the layers of color or patterns. It could be stripes, dots, or a grid of blocks. This is my way of keeping order to the piece. It’s also a place to start or escape if I’m lost or indecisive. The line, carved or drawn  serves to bring the color patterns together as a connecting thread.   The layers of color patterns inform  the drawing and guide the carving tool.

 

My compositions are intuitive and evolve from the act of doing, not planning. It’s not to say I have no thought about what I am creating. It is a more trusting place of being ready to plunge into the work without fear. It isn’t always pleasant, and many days of work get painted over. But, I find comfort in knowing the work underneath is still necessary and vital to the finished piece.  The hidden layers are revealed through sanding or scrubbing. It’s related to so much of our lives, what we don’t see or notice still matters.  We all have layers that aren’t visible and I find discovering the depth of these layers the most interesting in people and paintings.

 

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