Structural Balance II, 2007
9 x 6 in
The works that accompany this statement represent a theme I have been working with in a variety of media for about the past five years. I intend to set a stage that creates a mystery within the imagery. There has been a visible development in my work. Within the kudzu-draped landscape of upstate South Carolina has intrigued me for some time crows have appeared and over time the crow has evolved into new compositions. I am using the crow as a metaphor for mankind in my work.
My time observing the crows around my home and studio has given me some insight into their social behaviors. I enjoy watching and listening to their congregation and distant chat.
The history of the crow in other cultures depicts them at times as the trickster and other times as a positive character. The crows play a simple role in my imagery. My crows are observers and the sentinels of the events that concern me in this world. The crow is an extension of myself in my art.
In the latest drawings and monotype prints the crow as a living form is juxtaposed with the inanimate bone. This visual dialog creates a mystery. My new Ghost Crow series plays upon the bones’ past and the crow’s ghostly contrast of its living self. The earlier and continuance of my “Blind Crow” series are images that suggest to me a sense of innocence in the absence of sight. These crow figures are alone and less active currently.
For me the media of intaglio etching, monotypes as well as oil sticks and oil pastel, provide me with the opportunity and excitement of making marks. The techniques I employ with the oils in the drawings and the methods I use to develop my monotype prints are similar. I build up surface with the oil pastels by drawing back into the paper. The difference is that the drawings tend to retain the surface textures I like, whereas the monotypes have the implied textures instead. My monotypes are developed on two or three individual plates run consecutively. This way each plate will have various colors and techniques in order to develop the richness I desire for the image.
The etchings I do are another process entirely. I enjoy the process of actually sculpting the metal plate to reach the desired tonality, line and texture in the image.
Looking back at my graduate work, which was influenced by my study in Italy, I notice that I still portray mystery and intrigue with my subject matter. There is a narrative quality that beckons for a story to be told or the viewer may find his or her own story within my images.
Steven A. Chapp MFA Clemson