I have been an abstract artist since 1982 when I put my traditional landscapes aside and sought out Abstract Expressionists. I took workshops and learned from notable artists like Frank Stella, Grace Hartigan and Robert Motherwell, but it was while listening to a lecture by Sean Scully that I realized I empathized most with his idea of “endowing geometry with a human aspect.”
I always considered math my nemesis. I regard it with reverence, so to speak, but not with affection. Try as I might to avoid it, it inevitably works its way into my daily life and into my art. In my last two series I’ve started with a simple geometric shape, the ellipse, and worked to transform it from something precise and mundane to a kind of visual poetry. Order and predictability meet—and dance with—emotion and the element of surprise.
A critic, Jude Schwendenwien, once labeled my work “conceptual expressionism”. I liked that because it aptly describes the intellectual balancing act that drives my process. Yet isn’t this, I wonder, the same struggle that should take place in all abstract painting? Isn’t good art, as well as good living, a continuous compromise between freedom and restraint?
Christine Guarino – 8/10/23