Artist Lewis Folden
I think of my artwork not just as a means of personal expression, but as a way to share with others, my delight and excitement in the things I find around me - in particular their spiritual nature. I revel in the discovery of apparently insignificant items, textures, colors, shapes, etc. and collect them constantly. Frequently I do not know exactly what inspires me about something and it can be quite elusive to define - an idea, a function, an association, a color, a resonance - and it can be about contrasts or conjunctions.
Lately, for example, I’ve been celebrating my love of New York City’s gorgeously colored, vintage subway tiles in a series of textured paintings that I refer to as my “subway series”. It’s a simple expression based on a frequently overlooked specific item, but simplicity is a keynote for me.
My assemblages explore those tiny and subtle qualities of each item compared or contrasted to those of another in the work. Each then relates in some small way to yet another which may relate to yet another in still a different manner. The resonances might be clear and loud, or they may be apparent only to me, the artist. These qualities can include purpose, function, spiritual nature, or other more esoteric attributes, while aesthetically technical relationships to one another within the grouping are also an ingredient -- colors connect, positions relate to each other, and materials have quixotic juxtapositions in both the physical and metaphysical realms.
Through simplicity and triviality, eventually can come sophisticated complexities rising to cosmic importance. In my work I most love to memorialize the ephemeral, celebrate the beauty of insignificance, recognize the tiny interconnected resonances between objects and ideas, and use as much of a sense of space, volume, surface and texture as I possibly can.
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My work, informed by my years in theatrical design, frequently utilizes both texture and the illusion of spatial reality much as I would create onstage. I've always been influenced heavily by an oriental evocation of simplicity contrasting with a focal touch of reality - a texture, a profile, a color - that evokes in the most economical way possible a mood or idea. If I had to label my style, I'd probably call it contemporary abstract expressionism. I pride myself on the diversity of my choices of technique and subjects, an allignment that's served me quite well in theatre.
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© lewis folden - 2011