Erik Sandberg-Diment studied under James Gwynne at The College of Wooster in Ohio in the late 1960’s. Shortly after, he stopped painting to support his family and became a writer and columnist for The New York Times as well as producing numerous books and writing countless articles for other magazines. In 2010, he showcased his return to painting with a solo show at the Silver Circle Gallery.
Two factors dominate my painting, flow and form. Part of the uniqueness of my works arises from the fact I never touch the canvas I am working on; not with a brush, not with a knife, or any of the artists traditional tools.
I flow colors onto the canvas and then move the colors using gravity, air streams and vibrations. I shift the whole canvas back and forth as if I was panning for gold, which I am; emotional gold. Images are formed by the fluid motion of the paints themselves as their colors and various viscosities interact and meld on the playing field of the canvas.
I blend and shift the hues for hours. Eventually the fluid movement comes to rest. The first form is set. I repeat the process over and over, during the following days, varying only the motions, colors and density of the oils, until I have the picture I want – or it has me.
Lately I have been fascinated by the borders of images, their edges. In my paintings I use forms far beyond the squares and oblongs that limit the appearance of traditional paintings. When one thinks about it a stop sign is defined as much by its hexagonal shape as it is by the word “Stop”. In our minds eye the sign still means stop even if the word written there upon is “Go.” The outline of a pineapple represents a pineapple in our mind, even if its color is purple. Incorporating form as an integral part of the painting stimulates the mind into new perceptions. The process of interpretation sometimes becomes confused, sometimes becomes clarified, but always stimulating.
Painting for me is an event where the process becomes the value. The act of painting makes my whole body, my whole past life, leap into space. I know reality, at least reality as I try to define it, would not allow me to transcend space and time in a single leap, but painting does. Let me shape a canvas flow colour onto the form and I enter a universe of concentrated emotions. The end results for me are sometimes startling, sometimes awful and sometimes so glorious personally I cannot sleep at night.
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