shaping my intangibles
sailing in place
may 6 - june 25, 2016
passing clouds. poetry. climbing vines. current events. i am a collector of often unrelated and ambiguous images and ideas—not looking for anything in particular, but noticing patterns; and i try to process what it means-- how we have been shaped, and what is seeking to emerge--by making something formal. being covered in vines, leaves, birds—a metaphor that has become a dominant theme in my work for some time—is both about paying attention and also about how what we are paying attention to determines how we shape our world, and are shaped by and tied to it in a circle of reciprocity. -johan hagaman 2016
my work has always been anchored in drawing. i spent years drawing and painting from life. this instilled a strong sense of space and structure. at some point i became more interested in the negative space surrounding the objects i was observing and modifying the objects themselves. i began to organically develop an abstract language, but the sense of structure and organization remained constant in the painting.
i apply paint in layers using palette knives, brushes and oil sticks. i initially draw loose gestures and a variety of spontaneous marks. often traces of previous layers remain visible, allowing colors to interact in ways i could not have anticipated. this process leaves me feeling quite lost a lot of the time, and i have had to learn to become comfortable with that feeling. this sometimes builds to frustration, and i will scrape off much of what was applied, but the result of doing this is often something wonderful that moves the painting forward.
i view the painting process as a collaboration between myself and the materials. a conversation starts that has a beginning and an end, but everything in between is unpredictable. as the painting evolves, shapes and lines solidify, and i begin to see how the parts affect the whole. this way of layering, adding and subtracting, creates a history on the canvas. shapes have a story to tell. Lines that have been obliterated and resurrected over and over again have an emotional charge. this process that started as a wild party ends up as a contemplative carefully edited composition, involving precise modifications, while hopefully leaving the life force intact. -jenny nelson 2016