Stuart Fineman, an introduction
I have received a BFA in painting and drawing from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia (ne, Philadelphia College of Art) and an MFA in painting from Mills College in Oakland, California. I have been exhibiting in the United States, Europe and Australia). I have made my income primarily from teaching at the college level.
I live in Pennsylvania near Philadelphia
My new work is a culmination of years making art. Actively engaged in painting and drawing since I was very young, I have practiced representation, symbolic constructs, deconstruction and abstraction. The approach or temperament has swung like a pendulum between material expressive applications and a tighter craft “perfected” process. My interests and influences in art historical movements range from Caravaggio to Matisse, to Joan Mitchell and Brice Marden. I love great art, whether it is representational, abstract or conceptual. Anselm Keifer’s work makes me ecstatic. Anish Kapoor sends me to the cosmos and Richard Serra grounds me with weight and gravity. Contemporary sculpture and site-specific installation inspires me as much as painting. So, my influences are quite varied and they all feed into what I do.
In the fifteen years prior to my most recent work illustrated in the slides, my interest was exploring a reduced abstraction with a non-expressive and highly crafted application and surface. The reduction was both compositional and about the palette. Compositionally they are more architectural or geometric than organic.
I live in the woods in Pennsylvania and along with painting, I am actively stimulated with being in nature while hiking and paddling. I love wilderness and the solitude of mountains, forest and sea. The elements I find in these places are my muse in this work. They are less about landscape and more about still life, that is collecting things I find to be used as elements in compositions.
While these newest works have engaged in using imagery of physical and natural organic elements they are composed as if these things were invented shapes and lines. Using mostly dried ferns, weeds, sticks and flowers in a non-Euclidian universe, there is no up or down other than my preferred aesthetics for the completed physical object, the paper or panel. The elements are occupied in a spatial dance, frozen in that one moment captured in the work.
The new paintings that I have posted in the application are meant to be active with a constructed systematic space. Contrary, the palette has retained the Reduction philosophy practiced in my previous bodies of work. The most recent paintings and drawings illustrated in the images have three values of black, white and gray with active red linear elements. They advance and recede by both a regimentation of space produced by opaque overlapping and through intertwining. Color tends to advance on the picture plane over strict values so a friction is produced when the color is not always on the top. While evocative, the red lines do not represent angst, fear, terror, or blood. The mixed red is used as a primary, mid-value chroma only.
The application of medium finds a place between careful and well-crafted applications and more expressive executions. The works are either on primed archival paper or primed wood panels. Typically, the first elements are with acrylic paint on the primed surface before oil paint is applied. In the pursuit of a reoccurring interest since I was in Graduate School is the layering of marks, lines and shapes to be able to see previous decisions or the history of the process.
So, I want the new work to be active and engaging to the viewer. While I do not try to disguise the natural elements, these are not botany studies. I prefer an enigmatic observation rather than asking the viewer to “make sense” of the elements for a pattern, narrative or scientific study. They are supposed to be active and stimulating.