Saturday, October 12, 2019

Stitching - Passing on Artist's Wisdom by Thomas Garner

Passing on Artist's Wisdom

The stitching in many of my paintings is a signature artistic statement. It goes back to my earliest formation as an artist in Italy where I studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice and lived for 24 years.

One of the things that impressed me the most was the surface quality of the old master paintings that could be seen everywhere, not just museums, that truly showed the ravages of time like a fine vintage wine. When I started painting I incorporated this idea for three reasons.

First was the historical reference to antique canvases that were stitched together because the looms were only so big.

Second, at the time no one was painting in the traditional style. Everything was about modernism which in a sense was all about analyzing the art marking process, taking it all apart. I wanted to try to put it all back together again, a synthesis symbolized by mending or stitching back together.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the stitched seams create a visual tension between the content of the painting and the surface of the canvas, forcing the eye to go back and forth and drawing attention the sensual, material presence of the painting as an object representing a subject.

Specific to this painting of a reclining nude, the seams draw attention to the symbolic simplicity of the canvas as fabric representing, the fabric of drapery, and the sensual fabric of the flesh, the axis between the subjective and objective realms.

Thomas Garner 
October 2019

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