About Michael Anderson
My painting process is an investigation into how the the action of painting can be distorted, hidden, exaggerated or otherwise modified by the interactions and properties of materials.
I work with oil-based house paints, polyurethane, oils and turps to make mixtures of varying thicknesses and opacity. I use oil-based paints for their tendency to self-level: the way they smooth over when wet and how they lose this quality as they begin to dry. I work with metal and wood products. Recently my focus has been almost exclusively on plywood for large paintings and aluminium for small paintings. I paint on the floor and paint is applied in drips, tilts and pours.
In laying the initial compositions of these paintings I am thinking about two areas of the painting: the border and the centre. I started focusing on the border in late 2016 as means to provide a broad compositional context for the processes I have been using throughout my painting career. Beginning with coloured mixtures poured around the edge then either clear polyurethane or another colour in the middle, I cover these two zones and allow them to run together where they meet. Since then I have expanded on this idea to using oils straight out of the tube, spreading them from the borders into polyurethane bodies in the centre, exaggerating the movement as the pigment spreads out.
I am interested in the inherently decorative nature of painting and how action painting on a large scale may contradict this. Action painting is the idea that the marks that form the painting are a documentation of movement and time. My work began as painting that was mostly done in one session and has slowed down considerably due to the desire to create different effects by making paint interact in various states of semi-dryness. Oil paint and polyurethane both dry by polymerization, a process that makes them gradually thicken, so the drier they are the less the paint will move around. Generally the broad layout of the work is done in the first session then smaller details and more distinct shapes are added later as the paint is about half dry. After that, touch ups and even smaller details are added when the paint is nearly dry or dry to the touch but still soft and tacky. This is a time-based transition from broad gesture to small detail and from movement to stillness: at each step dealing with less of the whole surface. What may begin with a large pour over a general area ends with a single drip onto an exact target. This process is a deceleration as intervals between action have shifted from minutes to hours or even days. This has led me to think about the role of non-action, the pause, the thought. Can it be shown in the action of painting?