Douglas Anderson 2013

Douglas Anderson: Recent Work         December 26 – January 26 2013


The artist returns to the gallery for his first solo show since 2006 with a series of abstract images on paper. Drawing his inspiration from the masters of calligraphy of China and Japan, who sometimes describe their approaches as “walking” or “running” styles, Anderson, in these new paintings, has created whole universes with no more than black ink or pencil. He is attracted to the metaphor walking/running and thinks it describes perfectly his attempts to draw at the speed of thought, which is sometimes slow and ponderous and sometimes faster than the hand can record.

Also included in the exhibition are Anderson’s drawings with graphite pencil. There is a fertile interchange between to the two contrasting mediums. The pencil is hard, thin, and dry; it is a line moving through space. The brush, by contrast, is wet and flexible, creating hairlines and fat blots and everything in between. The brush must keep moving while the pencil can linger. Once again the metaphor of walking and running applies in a slightly different way, in the contrast between the mediums.

I begin my painting in an improvisational spirit. I don’t want to know where I’m going: that would be too boring. It’s as if one set out on one’s bicycle with no plan or destination in mind, but with just a simple desire to see what one will see. When I studied with Joe Stapleton back in the late 70’s I remember him saying, “The more you know, the less you know” and “the answer is there is no answer”. Those bits of cryptic wisdom have stayed with me more than anything else I was told and instruct me to this day. I always try to avoid the literal, or an “Idea”, and that, I suppose, is my sole criterion for a free-floating approach.