I rummage through a pile of canvases coated with oil paint, the work of well-intentioned but artistically challenged students in a beginning painting class at a nearby college. They are to be taken off their wooden stretchers and discarded. My offer to keep them out of the landfill is happily obliged.
Once off their stretchers, I recognize them as simple textiles - bare canvas covered with surface designs - the warp and weft still visible in a good number of them. Some designs are more coherent than others. Some are drab, some brilliant. Some barely smeared with color while others carry the bulk of the semester’s allotment of paint. All of them are pretty bad - but they are, to my eye, rich with possibilities.
At home, I spread them on the floor of my studio and examine them, wondering about the makers. The echoes of their memories are faint whispers in my ear that compete with my own - memories that are triggered by favorite colors or the odd juxtaposition of shapes and textures.
With scissors and glue, I go about making new memories from remembered ones, happy to follow the paradox and see where it leads.
Each is mounted on heavy Strathmore mixed media stock. I've resisted the urge to title these as I'm reluctant to influence the viewer's unique memory/memories.
Here are three of the over thirty I've completed thus far: