Joe Vinson

“As a conscious member of a tradition, I paint landscapes outside, from direct observation.  Producing paintings that depict the kind of light that our eyes were formed to see has proved to me the best way to learn color. It has laid the foundation for my abstract studio work.  These paintings from the studio make an appeal to the viewer through the pleasure of the senses, the sheer enjoyment of experiencing color contrasts.  Having removed the representation allows a space for a pure aesthetic experience.  It is a space that taps into the spirit, provoking an emotional response, through a direct, straightforward simple poetry of color with  painting ideas  embedded.  I would love to make someone cry from the beauty of my color contrasts.  Using my paintings as the vector, I would like to be the Typhoid Mary of the Stendhal Syndrome.

I like the clean uncluttered feel of many modern paintings, but they are often painted in a simple single layer of paint.  This can make for a too quick reading of the works’ construction, losing the mystery that is acquired when a painting is more developed in its facture.  To counter this I have developed a technique that creates a complex optical surface that vibrates in the eye with subtle and constantly changing color contrasts.  Most of the paintings on this site are done with a technique that I have been refining for the last eight years.  It is a form of cross-hatching.  The choice of vertical and horizontal lines is a reference to the two dimensional aspect of this type of art. There is a base color, then vertical lines of a contrasting color, and finally horizontal lines on top in a similar hue of the base color. This makes three layers of paint coordinated according to very subtle temperature and value contrasts.  The colors on all three layers change across the surface.  The changes occurring on three levels create the complexity. I paint freehand with a very small brush. Each line is one brushstroke wide.  Sometimes I do not complete the top layer of horizontal strokes, deliberately creating a shape by not painting it: a Left-Under, a physical manifestation of “less is more”.

The subtle elegance of these paintings make them virtually impossible to photograph and the shadows of the thick physical paint itself across the surface add to the difficulty of finding an accurate light meter reading.  They need to be experienced in person to create the aesthetic resonance that they generate.  I like this.  In a world obsessed with virtual reality there are still some things that can only be experienced directly.”

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