Artist Grayson Chandler shares a fascinating collection of abstract paintings in oil and watermedia. View more of his portfolio by visiting his website.
In the simplest terms I can conjure, my work takes root in “the stuff that’s not the stuff,” a mantra I inherited from an early art teacher of mine.
Hopefully, this remark’s sophistication isn’t betrayed by its simplicity, because it underlines a fundamental aspect of my work’s personality—aspect being ambiguity. Where ambiguity is found, there is an incidental crisis of conclusion. Yet, I find this crisis is merely a symptom of semantics, which my work seeks to circumvent.
In linguistics, semantics is a branch of study that occupies itself with the construction of meaning. Similarly, finding meaning has always been a preoccupation inherent to the expression and consumption of art. Now, regarding the quotation above, as a saying it is intentionally ambiguous, which is why I consider it to be a useful analogy.
By distilling an artwork down to what can essentially be described only as what is and is not, you may find that what’s missing isn’t for a lack of “stuff;” regardless of whether “stuff” is or is not present is irrelevant to an artwork—it’s all “stuff” nevertheless.
That is to say, an artwork’s meaning does not originate from its contents, but instead from what it does not contain. This elusive and fluid phenomenon is context, it is the “stuff that’s not the stuff,” and it’s where my work finds its face.
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To reiterate, the saying above is intentionally ambiguous. Likewise, my work evades precise explanation in favor of suggesting the presence of something beyond the contents of what we are currently aware of.
On the periphery of our awareness is a territory in which known and unknown blend together in a range of interpretations—sowing potential and shaping context.
I think it helps to conceptualize this range not as a static circumference around which interpretations are plotted like numerals, but instead like a landscape.
Forging this landscape is an ecosystem, and like any ecosystem—whether literal or metaphorical—it is alive.
This is what my work attempts to materialize; a space where the scope of our imagination is given ground to explore the ways we conceive meaning in a manner similar to the way life evolves with its environment.
Artist Grayson Chandler invites you to follow him on Instagram.
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