WHAT THE EYE CAN TOUCH
The importance of touch is essential in Terry Greene’s creative process. New work often begins with the physical handling of a section of canvas or a piece of paper to then find the right composition through improvised drawing or a previous iteration of a particular form. When the artist finds that something interesting is happening, each piece is cut and painted individually. It is here, while the material is still wet, when he starts examining, rearranging, turning and removing the different elements that will form the collaged paintings over and over again until a dialogue is achieved within a work.
When asked if in this stage of production he needs to be in an entropic mental state where there is a space for chance and accidental choices, he refers to the search for a place where the unforeseen and the determined happily co-exist.
I’m not sure that reaching a point of chaos is entirely desirable, so much as losing oneself to find an alternative path. I would say that in my experience, accident chance and making random choices are all aspects of daily life. Therefore embracing these within the framework of a painting practice would seem quite reasonable.
Based on this Greene’s practice could be regarded as purely studio-based: one that follows traditional procedures to focus on form, colour and materiality and takes inspiration in vernacular sources such as quilts, textiles and narrowboat decoration. There is certainly truth in this affirmation, but it is only a partial statement.
Greene has recently been interested in the digital world and the tiny geometric abstractions that are employed as visual stand-ins for personal identifiers, such as the Identicons. Identicons were created in 2007 to visually distinguish units of information and data through a set of repetitive colours, patterns and geometrical shapes. A seriality also present in various bodies of work and a fundamental aspect of the artist’s practice that makes us wonder: in the era of digital information, what can traditional art studio-based processes teach us about data processing? Isn’t every choice of colour, form and composition part of a system to decode and translate information? And not only visual information, but concepts, art history references, encounters in everyday life, years of experience and study inside and outside the studio, life lessons, childhood memories, and so on.
(…) with regards to the making process, there are several layers of data embedded in the work itself from an initial grid to the overlay of a geometrical composition, and then finally arriving at a colour choice to organise differing zones. Across a group of works viewed together that data (process) will invariably be easier to deduce and connect. This would hopefully have the effect of making the viewer more conscious of the process by which they came into existence.
And in this existence, colour has not only the potential to play an aesthetic role in his work, but also an associative and organisational one. He has experimented with shifting from opaque to transparent pigments in the past and lately he has settled for mostly yellow ochre, Mars red, Payne’s grey, cerulean blue, burnt or raw umber and titanium white. This palette has been growing in parallel to the present body of work, defining one another and complementing the approach to production.
The definition of Greene’s practice certainly transcends single classifications, shifting and incorporating data processing to collage, collage to painting, painting to sculpture and sculpture to geometry.
In the end I’m not really overly precious about the terms ascribed to it. What I would say is that it’s clearly developed from a painting practice, my concerns are with what Kenneth Noland defines as: “what the eye can touch”.
Aina Pomar Cloquell