Artist's Statement

I paint to find quiet space—space where the internal dialogues are silenced, where there is no sense of time. I search out that same space through meditation. It is difficult. Painting, meditating, and quieting my mind are among the hardest things I have ever done. But they are also powerful. Having control of our emotions and our mind is the most powerful thing humans can do. That kind of quiet, deep, powerful experience is what I try to create in my paintings.


My work is informed by the urban world of concrete, asphalt and steel, as well as by the decay, erosion and weathering of that environment. It is both austere in its minimalism, and intimate in its detailed textures, which invite close examination. The powerful, rough presence of these paintings is the result of intensive working and building up of many layers of paint, pigment, and cold wax medium, along with additives such as earth, sand, and ash.


My surfaces begin with visual commotion—color, words, numbers, and symbols—a chaos of recognizable things. But gradually, as the layers of complex texture evolve, I obscure them. Layer-by-layer, I quiet them. In the end, there are only hushed reverberations of any prior noise, silenced by neutrally toned, textured surfaces. 


I choose my materials for the tactile experience I get working with them and for the textures they allow me to create: oil paint, pigments, and solvent—sand, ash, and dirt. A soft beeswax paste holds it all together. I use texture and surface as field.


Jerry McLaughlin