I am pleased to announce my show “Drawings and Paintings” at Sunday L.E.S. on view from January 11 to February 10, 2008. The show consists of drawings and paintings from a new body of work based on a system of rules that I have invented. I am also in the process of making a book of drawings that will attempt to explain all the rules and how they work together. At this point the book has 147 drawings but I estimate that if I can ever finish it will have about 1500 drawings. The most basic rule, and the one on which all the other rules in the system are based, is that for anything I do I must also do the opposite. The second most important rule is that I can only make one decision at a time and each decision must somehow follow from those that came before. And the third most important is that I work out all the permutations of the new rule in combination with the old rules. I should point out, though, that the whole process of creating and implementing the rules is rigorously intuitive.
Each image is a working out of opposites. There is always a shape in the middle of the picture and its opposite is the edge of the canvas or paper. Everything else you see, all the symmetrical bands, is a working out of these opposing forces it is a series of compromises. These paintings and drawings look symmetrical but they are not. Things appear as if they repeat out from the center but actually nothing happens more than once and both the color and the wonky geometry work to keep things from repeating. The patterns look like they are from the real world but they are invented. The style of the patterns is abstract but they keep the images from being abstract because they are drawings and paintings of specific patterns. There are optical effects but there is no overall or consistent optical system in these paintings and drawings. Any optical effect used is merely another way (like color or shape) to differentiate the different bands of information. Every part works to create images that come together and fall apart at the same time.
In my paintings and drawings I aim to propose some way in which art can still work. I am not interested in showing how ideas from the past are wrong or broken but in attempting to find something that can be saved. We live in a time when we are told that we can do anything we want. This is a form of restraint. My rules and systems are in part an attempt to escape from this freedom. – Richard Tinkler