Late last year I was fortunate to receive PEI Council of the Arts senior artist grant to develop a series of 20 abstract oil on panel paintings. The set of 20 pieces comprise a project entitled the “Spec Series.”
In keeping with a set of rules that I have established for my painting practice, each painting is 12×12 inches and is considered a series within my long term project called the Long Series. The Long Series is a production endurance piece that already consists of over 1,500 pieces and conceptually is meant to contain 10,000 when it is complete.
The Long Series already contains some series within series, including “The Canada Suite,” completed as a PEI Council of the Arts Sesquicentennial Public Art Commission. I have also used the Long Series to explore collaborative projects with artists in the U.K. and the U.S. Other small series within the Long Series are “The U.K. Box,” which contains collaborative works with a number of artists in the U.K., and I am currently working collaboratively with a U.S. artist, Phillip J. Mellen, on a box of text and image based works.
Also over the last few years, arts-based social media has become a major part of my practice, and so I document the creation of the project with blog posts and social media posts. The networks I have developed through social media connect me to groups of like-minded artists in the United States and the United Kingdom and Europe.
Although the Long Series is primarily abstract painting, exploration of methods of presentation is important. While often hung on a wall, they are also presented in sculptural stacks or in self-contained storage boxes.
I have been a picture framer by trade and have incorporated framing into my artistic practice. Each painting in this series will be a hand-made framed panel.
The paintings in the “Spec Series” will be housed in a specially designed wooden case that I will build and that will act as both a storage and display unit. This case will house the complete set of 20 paintings and be designed for storage, shipping, and presentation.
I intend to display the finished work in a local exhibition in an as yet undecided location. Also, recently I have been receiving opportunities to show Long Series works in a number of group shows in the USA and the UK, and I have had enquiries for box sets and oil or acrylic works on panels. Proposing the set of paintings as a pre-built exhibition on “spec” may be part of the distribution and exhibition plan.
I would like to thank the PEI Council of the Arts and the Department of Culture and the Government of Prince Edward Island for their support with this project.
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