Annell Livingston

Translations #11 (2019)
flashe on w/c paper
22 x 22 in.

In this series, Translations, I am not trying to recreate the inspiration, but rather I am trying to translate the inspiration, like translating a poem from one language to another. It is in these translations, past, present and future come together and become clear. When I began this new series of work, I felt I was standing on the edge of an exciting adventure, destination unknown.

Translations Series is inspired by collage, which I have often used in my work. In this series I am seeking the unexpected, color juxtaposed in interesting ways, something beyond the “first idea.” Something deeper, more like poetry, when words just won’t do.

The process requires a lot of preparatory work, before painting begins. As I work, I make many aesthetic judgments about color, shape, intensity, value, size, and scale. Ideas about color are my first consideration. Color speaks on an emotional level.  Colors often have universal meanings such as; red could mean life, or could be used to imply anger, while yellow could mean sunny happiness, blue for melancholy or sorrow. I am a hard-edge painter; therefore, shape is important as it organizes space and gives the viewer a “way” to look at the work.

Painting is a visual language, a form of communication. I never consider a painting finished, until the viewer tells me what he sees. A painting is a collaboration between the painter and the viewer. Marcel Duchamp, a pioneering artist and leading figure in  Dada … argued that both the artist and the viewer are necessary for the completion of a work of art.

I am working with Flashe, a paint distributed since 1955 by LeFranc & Bourgeois. Flashe is an extra fine, vinyl-based professional grade of matte permanent colors. It offers optical characteristics similar to gouache, old tempera paints and primitive painting grounds – the result is matte, velvety and opaque with deep color saturation. Flashe is one of the first modern painting materials to give artists other means than oil painting to express themselves.

© Annell Livingston