fugue, n.

1. A polyphonic composition constructed on one or more short subjects or themes, which are harmonized according to the laws of counterpoint, and introduced from time to time with various contrapuntal devices.

2. A flight from one's own identity, often involving travel to some unconsciously desired locality.

―Oxford English Dictionary

The first of these works, Cockaigne, began with a selection of shapes from the works in the Stranger Shields series. The shapes were not randomly chosen, but picked quickly, not thinking much about style or scale. Using these “leftovers,” I assembled a complex, multilayered composition using the shapes as color notes.

As a painter, I spent years using oil paint in a manner similar to Venetian artists of the Italian Renaissance. I would begin with a base layer of colors, then apply transparent and semi-transparent layers of color on top of those. The result was a complex chromatic surface, one containing colors I hadn’t purposely mixed, hues instead produced by overlapping semi-opaque notes. I used the same kind of visual thinking in Cockaigne, changing both the colors and the opacities of the shapes in the layers, generating plenty of happy accidents. This resulted in a complicated abstract push-and-pull, with shapes appearing to rise, fall, hover, or sink relative to the overall design.

I found this process very exciting, challenging, and rewarding. I therefore began new works created with all-new shapes, some of which are completely non-objective, and some which are drawn from life.

Once I complete the initial composition of one of these Fugues, I create variations using a range of possible color sets. The results are similar to the Stranger Shields series: each work exists in several versions, each version varying in mood and tone.

Fugues is an ongoing project…as of April 2019, I’m still making more.

Click on each picture to see it in its entirety.