I am interested in the process of existential and phenomenological inquiry through drawing and painting.
Taking into consideration the historical images that inform visual experience, both public and personal, I seek to make work that is emotionally resonant and in conversation with the past, which is also the future.
That time moves in cycles was Giambattista Vico’s hypothesis. This notion interests me in the context of painting. We look at a painting today, seeing with the paintings (and other images) of yesterday, which then informs the making of tomorrow’s paintings. We see the landscape through a screen of landscapes.
At the same time, I believe all sensual experience is deeply personal and singular. A painting is made by the “body which is an intertwining of vision and movement” (Merleau-Ponty). Everything is potentially meaningful. Imagination finds its source in reality.
Palimpsests: something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.
In my process, I have sought to translate the landscape through the screen, sketching in quasi-grids and abstracting colors and forms from reference compositions (both art historical and my own), giving greater or lesser weight to color and form based on instinct and balance, order and accident, creating a dialogue between outline and infill.
I am interested in the relationship between landscape and abstraction, the way in which perception of the natural world is at the center of the landscape, which is traditionally concerned with both a translation of perception and its nuanced effects on the viewer. In Cezanne, for example, the paintings express the landscape atomistically, suggesting incompleteness and alienation, which I find compelling.
Experimentation, digression, erasure, and reconstruction are key elements in my work. My current approach involves priming the canvas by first making a schema-painting, and then striping the painting back to an effaced blank slate, rendering the story behind the story. I try to use very thinned acrylic, with various additives, iridescent, gloss, matte, etc. I work until the reference composition (reality) dissolves into the underpainting (imagination), through a visual screen or wall (perception) created by the grid, where traces of each form a new synthesis of the muted valences that exist between there and here and here and then.
Nick Maurer is a visual artist and writer who lives in Costa Mesa, CA. He received an MFA from UC Irvine.