A Searching Through Minimalism

Recently I had a studio visit with friend and artist Nathan Foxton. It is interesting how in our process of making art, we sometimes can become blind to the ongoing search that keeps revealing itself in our work to others and yet escapes us.

I am referring to the constantly reoccurring horizontal bands in my paintings.

At first I pursued these compositions willing. Looking to the work of Agnes Martin, she inspired me with the stillness in her immense spaces that pushed past the edges of her canvas.

Photo of Agnes Martin’s paintings at Pace Gallery.

Brice Marden has been always been a hero of minimalism for me since the eighties. I discovered his work in a Vogue magazine, of all places. He was drawing and painting with sticks. I loved the enigmatic beauty in these fields of marks.

But in his work it was more about the simplicity of method. Using sticks for stream of conscious mark making and the beauty that exists in this seemingly simple effort. Later his color field paintings spoke to me of materials and capturing the presence of being, not a loud narrative.

Brice Marden, The Dylan Painting. 1966/1986; oil and beeswax on canvas, 60 3/ 8 in. x 120 1/2 in. (153.35 cm x 306.07 cm). San Francisco Museum of Art.

My pursuit is not merely copying the lessons I have learned from artists before me. It has come from a desire to pursue stillness, contemplation, peace, a meditational space, opening up, the vastness of space…while remaining true to my materials.

Carolyn Springer, Cold, Deep Ocean; Looking for the Leviathan. 2014, encaustic on wood panel, white frame (not in photo).

Carolyn Springer, Winter Storm. 2014, encaustic and sea salt on canvas.

Carolyn Springer, Vast Sky, Searching for Angels. 2014, encaustic on paper.

It was as if I no longer felt the impact of the horizontal band in my work. My comfort with the strong horizontal band had become my visual language and I could no longer hear it. Sort of like how the sound of our own voice can elude us.