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The starting point for each work is that each mark is needed. This requires a rigorous approach in always stripping down, and sometimes building up, line and color. Painting offers an infinite number of ways for those marks to be placed. The disadvantage and the reason the process is so time-consuming, is that finding one of those infinite options can be difficult. Going too far in either direction—building up or reducing-- in this endeavor destroys the overall design and structure, so the process demands a careful balance.

The work also relies on certain underpinnings involving the narrative/non-narrative tension, the abstract/representation tension, and the tension between two-dimensionality and the illusion of three-dimensionality. Further, I am interested in the interplay of black and white and color variations within those broad bands together with how those colors interact to create negative and positive space. Some of the paintings are purely abstract, such as the grid paintings (both those with a tight grid and those with a looser, ambiguous grid coupled with black rectangular anchoring shapes) and some strip paintings, while others utilize language and arguably are not fully abstract. However, in all cases, the strategy described above applies to the same goals, although with somewhat different design features.


- Howard Silberthau


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