Wayne Kimball


A Tree With One Wing Can Only Fly in Circles    Lithograph, 15x20


Since my student days, I have had much admiration for artists who have the facility and restraint to deal with observable forms by implication-by suggesting, hinting, or otherwise providing visual clues (rather than explicitly rendering everything) thereby allowing the viewer to participate in the art-making process by using his or her imagination to complete the pictures. Despite the admiration, however, I confess to deriving self-indulgent pleasure from the labor-intensive and sometimes unforgiving medium of hand lithography: in making crayon tones and tusche washes on slabs of Bavarian limestone and plates of grained aluminum. I am unable to resist working images to a level of finish that denies the viewer the right (or rite) of optical completion, although I do hope to challenge the viewer to make psychological completion. To make things worse, I prefer intimate formats over larger ones (which rubs against much of what I was taught in graduate school by professors who thought in terms of Abstract Expressionist and Pop issues). Those idiosyncratic preferences for small scale and high finish seem to derive (in part, at least) from a boyhood of viewing art in reproduced form in books and magazines rather than in actuality in galleries and museums. It also seems probable that that perception of art may have something to do with my choice to employ thin veils of ink printed on paper or to construct collages using printed material rather than painting on canvas or panels.

The imagery in my lithographs is typically compiled in a collage-like fashion, using or working from bits and pieces of drawings, photographs, and printed ephemera and composing them in rather formal settings. A number of pieces have direct or indirect historical references to antiquity, Northern Renaissance painting or Islamic miniatures. In the summer of 1997 I began making actual collages from the visual materials I had been collecting over the years. The idea for making them arose in response to an assignment I gave to a drawing class to produce serial imagery within the confines of a small book (pamphlet) format What occurred to me was the idea of putting to use some cubist-like drawings that I had done several years earlier (which I digitally scanned and laser printed onto book pages) which were then used as starting points for selecting and assembling materials taken mostly from magazines. In the absence of having to make highly rationalized, "formal" pieces, as is my habit in producing color lithographs, the collages very quickly became immediate, spontaneous, quickly executed testing environments for a flood of visual ideas.

Regarding those delicate issues of content or even of how to engage the attention of a person who happens to look at these pictures (both the lithographs and the collages), my efforts are focused upon selecting subjects or pieces of subjects which, when put together (or, in fact, when isolated from their home environs), suggest meanings beyond themselves. As a consequence of the imposition and confluence of differing perspective systems, the objects generate slightly peculiar, ambiguous, and imaginary spaces. The resulting pictures are often perceived as puzzles, riddles, or dilemmas to which contemplation may supply answers, or as objects and spaces imbued with disguised, obscure, or cryptic meanings which may only be discerned during periods of sleep.

Based on certain historical precedents involving tightly rendered forms, impeccable surfaces, and diminished scale - alluding primarily to Northern Renaissance paintings and to Islamic miniatures another attraction for me is the use of inscriptions, usually functioning as titles. It seems that letters, words, and phrases (whether in our language, or not) coupled with imagery conjure up additional levels of potential meaning.