The School Papers is an ongoing series since 2004, now numbering nearly 100 individual works. In 2004 I saw Tantric drawings from India for the first time. They are made anonymously on irregularly shaped buff-colored paper surfaces. The scale is intimate and the imagery is flat and geometric. Within the Tantric tradition these works serve specific meditative purposes for both their creators and their viewers. Worlds away, and without any knowledge of the Tantric practice, I nevertheless connected immediately and profoundly with their visual energy. It’s an uncanny balance that feels precisely calibrated, yet simultaneously blunt and raw. These works made manifest possibilities I was exploring in my own work at the time. And I was deeply impressed by the idea that “pure” geometric imagery had an important “use” within a community.
In 2006 my father gave me a cache of vintage school grade writing paper he had found. The color of the old paper reminded me of the color of the Tantric drawings. One day I began layering upon this paper the simplest rectangular forms in black and white. Unexpected incidencts began to occur right away–tears, buckling, bleed-thru. But this paper had a way of receiving and transforming every kind of touch and material I put to it.
On this unique surface, with the sheet size and repetitive ruled lines serving as grounding constants, I explore a personal tactility and geometry in a contemplative mindset.