My collaborations with Ian Boyden seem to be the most natural of occurrences. I have collaborated before with other artists and often with success, but sometimes there is a forced sense with the collaboration as we are simply bringing a skill set to the project without really being in alignment. It has been a steep learning curve for me. Historically, as artists formed a base for individuality over say direction from the Church or Royalty, to work collaboratively has been regarded with suspicion.
Mr. Boyden and I share a surprising number of common fields of interest and as we converse and expand our knowing of each other, these overlaps often amaze and then divert us into new areas to examine. Where this amps into a new level our collaborative projects is that we engage in a conversation and then merge our various working methods into an aesthetic fusion. This fusion is intuitive, spontaneous and results in a material form, a painting or book at this stage, and we then notice this object being far more than the sum of its parts or the work of only two beings. I also take note of the fact that our wives and extended groups of friends and past collaborators impact our thinking so the group mind begins to patinate the work. We are the sum of all we have met. I love the ideas that come from a fertile conversation---always have, for when they reach conclusion or the car door slams, I am changed and inspired. In the collaborations the element of the unexpected carries a charge that cannot be rationalized or explained. Still we try. Ian works in a liquid dance of primary material. It resists reductionist analysis and criticism. It can only be observed and absorbed. Whether I begin a work or he does, what emergent forms that result defy our ability to project or predict an outcome.
There is also an equilibrium that I have discovered and a sense of surrender. As an individual and a humanoid, my inertial response is to be right all the time. So to surrender to the impulses of a joint project and to the ‘’art direction’’ of someone else is a very dynamic way to allow for the novelty of process to occur. Our new work speaks more to me of playing music together for a common track of sound than for our visual personalities to overcome the other. In a working fusion two soloists can merge as one voice. This one voice or one vision is one goal we share. We know that our individual marking methods can be picked out of the paintings as you would pick out a disagreeable vegetable from a salad. What does happen so successfully is that Ian’s methods can enhance a passage of mine and set up a dynamic or force of activity that take my mark and makes it ineffable and so new and unique to me. Things result that I could not draw. Dynamic equilibrium is a state of balance between continuing processes. I no longer regard process as having an end point but simply moving into a new stage of being with ongoing change. Once a painting is complete or finished in sense of classical physics or painting, things continue to occur. It moves across the country to a new museum, it gets dusty and exposed to the light from various sources. It may be stolen and worshipped as a diagram for the conversion of fate or it may be destroyed and be re-compounded into a new material in a land fill. Our role in the process of PROCESS is to be agents for this change and we seek to do it through awareness of place and time and local history and so Science adds ground to the central idea. We embrace the process in the vehicle we know best, which are the intuitive aesthetic philosophies of painting and bookmaking. We seek to fuse our hemispheric brains and to fuse our ability to effect change on the inky surface of a cellulose matrix.-Timothy C. Ely
Expect extraordinary artwork by this dynamic duo.
Opens September 4, 2010.