OIL ON LINEN
20″ X 20″
About the Artist
William Holton Artist Statement
My painting practice begins with intentionality, establishing a system that gradually moves beyond my control to become self-regulating. I set myself a few simple rules, and then, using compressed air to create and move small currents of paint, I yield control to my materials and the resulting complex patterns that emerge from their interaction. This process occurs over many layers, resulting in overlaid patterns, which interconnect and play off one another so that new patterns emerge. The colors, too, take on a life of their own, as the painting progresses. Although I commit to specific colors at the outset, once a given color is introduced into a field of layers, optical mixing occurs, creating new colors over which I no longer have control. Thus color creates color, shape creates shape, in a self-regulating system of exponentially growing complexity.
I developed this approach out of my fascination with complex systems in nature, and the dynamic interplay of structure and contingency that makes up the universe. I am interested in how systems, on every scale of magnitude, accommodate exponential growth, how chance and uncertainty produce richly configured, ever-changing structures which are again, subject to chance and uncertainly.
Just as in nature, my own process has been in a continual state of evolution over the past years, as it accommodates moments of disorder that result from new discoveries. I am in awe of how this process operates in nature at every level of magnitude. And I experience it in microcosm in my work – within the most minute motions of paint, and in the large patterns that form from their cumulative effect. My hope is to express how even the smallest image implies infinity, presenting a fragile stasis within an inevitable movement toward disorder. And how so-called “positive” and “negative” space, created by the proliferation of interconnected patterns, are in fact singular “entities,” each composed of space and matter. These two are the fundamental elements of my paintings, and shift in relation to one another as light conditions shift: sometimes the “positive” elements seem to come forward, sometimes the “negative” ones do, but the two are always interdependent. It is my goal that in the interplay of its myriad patterns, and in the changing light of day, my work can reflect something of our infinitely rich, endlessly dynamic, universe of space and time.