This work is from a series called “American Miniatures”. They are small works on paper…personal symbolic confections inspired by the contemporary Persian miniature painting of Shahzia Sikander. She “blends the Eastern focus on precision and methodology with a Western emphasis on creative, subjective expression” and is one of my favorite contemporary artists working today.
In these pieces I blended many of my painted, drawn and collaged images from previous works of mine. The egret and peacock in Family Portrait were from an oil painting I made in the late 80’s. I scanned them and reset them in a new context, and paint on top of them. The layered framing devices are taken from traditional Indian miniature painting.
Similarly, Hawaii Fish, was a mashup of elements from various works. The orange roofed hut and palm trees were from a plein air painting I did in Hawaii. The graphic sky above was created through a great deal of image processing. I had shot super 8 film footage of palm trees blowing in the wind on that same trip. When I got home, I used a film printer to print out part of that footage, frame by frame. They made very etherial black and white drawings. Somewhere along the way in the process, these drawings of the palm trees being blown around seem to match up with the painted landscape…so I folded them together in this painting. Some of the graphic fish were from a series of collages I had created with handmade and printed papers..and others were painted on top of the composite print.
I love this intuitive, visual and symbolic crazy-making, but am looking to learn the traditional Indian miniature making methods. Any takers?…I want to do more of these!