I found myself thinking about this painting today. This painting was done as a commission. There was converasation with the client, who is also an artist, about how the piece would interact with a large textile piece she was making. We talked texture and color. I was also aware of the piece’s placement, both in the house and the placement of the house (in western Mass). I was considering the title and what was the experience of making the work. More and more, I’m realizing that my goal in these works is to share in an active way, the experience I have of discovery and resolution in the making. I think that is partially why I am so drawn to the three dimensional; it’s unfixed and fragile nature in these works. The viewers experience is more fluid and changing. I was considering this imagery. I knew the work was going to a woodland setting. I was really enjoying the act of turning over the painting to reveal the verso. I see now how the work is an action of digging through the forest floor. Through things living, dead, decayed and transforming. And it’s the action of finding that sought, underneath; the blue, the vein, the water. I considered the title again:”Surfacing”. I knew that I was having a joke with myself about the building of the two surfaces of the paper and the action of revealing the surfaces to each other. I was also speaking to the notion in my work both specific to the pandemic and also specific to my evolution of surfacing as above the water; to breathe, to have a new view, to be freed, if only momentarily. This morning as I thought through the work, I thought about that blue coming up like water surfacing. Like life roiling up through the cast offs and detritus of our forest floors.
Joseph Castronova is an artist and educator living in Metuchen NJ