Mary Lou Stewart

Preliminary Drawing #1

Picture 1 of 10

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New Scroll Series: Improvisational Patterns

These new series of mixed media paintings and drawings were begun in the spring of 2011 and continue today. Prior to this time, my interest in the horizon and landscape dominated my work. In 2011, I again began thinking and drawing references to the landscape, but decided to push myself away from landscape into a new direction. I maintained my interest in surface and pattern and the interaction between chaos and structure. I have been continually concerned with the spatial relationships between patterned and textured fields, shapes, lines and color. Some of the surfaces are layers of sanded paint to create actual textures: some surfaces are painted to create visual textures and patterns. These surfaces use gesture, finger painting, dripping, stamping, scraping, photography, and collage elements. All of these elements have been carried to the new work, but I started to respond to the surfaces independently and not referencing the horizon, landscape or borders. I was seeing the individual pieces as being more dominant and experimented with hanging them together, similar to Japanese scroll paintings which have influenced my work since the mid-1980’s. As a result, these new pieces are made of multiple hand-painted and stamped panels each with a distinct rhythmic pattern. Strongly musical and highly improvisational the shifting paces of these panels are a kind of visual jazz; from chaos into structure, up and down, some calm some not so calm, creating a sense of rhythm across the paintings.

Trained as a sculptor, I have always viewed painting based on materials and processes; that is, more about applying the paint and materials themselves and less about a final pre-planned image. I work on as many as six pieces at a time moving panels around until they find their place, piecing together previously made pieces and newly created pieces much like a quilt.