City Lights and other New Works

Some of the paintings in this series were done in a more linear fashion- with a vague plan and then the implementation, which allowed for improvisation along the way. Others were done in a much more stretched out time frame over months and even years for this show. I have learned that if one has reached an impasse in terms of the formulation of a specific work of art then it’s usually wise council to take a break from the piece. This advice was given to me by a very insightful teacher years ago. Indeed, this makes sense as it enables one to be able to look at what was created (in a past painting session) with a fresh set of eyes and hopefully seeing the path to move forward to completion.
This advice squares with what Edward Munch stated: “I paint what I saw- not what I see”. Franz Kline could also be cited on this topic when he said that spontaneity in art often emerges with a very slow and almost calculated process. The ability to be able to work from a time-based perspective has great value and many of the pieces in this show were done over a long period of time. Some were started as far back as 2019. 
The working method was to have the paintings paint themselves- do something - then wait- then do something else- whatever the pieces would suggest- I would follow. It is related to the idea of serving the art and not imposing anything onto each piece. A novelist I once knew told me that often a character will take over a plot within writing - if that happens too much, control of the creative process can be lost. It was with this thought in mind that these paintings were created.
There is one process-oriented approach that I was aware of while doing these pieces. I was always aware of the relationship between line and shape- and the way those things interact. Planes are almost like chords whereas lines are like individual notes. The more complex a painting is the more it’s like orchestral music, the less complex, (less moving parts) this would be more akin to chamber music.
Layer after layer of visual information spanning years and numerous separate work sessions on each canvas meant that each piece determined when it was complete- and my role in many respects was reduced to editing out visual information that did not add- but editing in information that did.
To that extent, I assumed the role of authority over them but never wanted to change what the individual pieces seemed to want to be on their own. I find that my most successful pieces are those that become life forms that live on their own, away from interpretation by anyone.

Tom Cramer
July 2022