The Convoluted Theories

“My thoughts, manifested visually, find their space in the cannon of a male world of art-making.” - the artist

Downstairs Neighbour, 2018, oil on canvas, 6 x 6.5 feet, $1150

Downstairs Neighbour, 2018, oil on canvas, 6 x 6.5 feet, $1150

When I began painting, I was more geared toward ecology, science, and natural systems, and my portfolio explored notions of land, borders, power. These issues and questions are obviously still important, however situating them in my own painting practice was at first a struggle until I abstracted them.

Pity, 2018, oil and charcoal on canvas, 6 x 6 feet, $1100

Pity, 2018, oil and charcoal on canvas, 6 x 6 feet, $1100

Frustrated that I couldn’t force these concepts into interesting paintings, I began to think about where my success lay in the past. Two things spawned from this reflection: first, it became painfully obvious that forcing creativity to spur out of ideas I vaguely had was probably not a great idea; second, in works where I perhaps offered myself more than the convoluted theories I was reading, thoughts poured out more naturally, more authentically, thus making the work more captivating. Realizing these things, as well as finally allowing for text to creep back into my compositions, has completely changed the body of work I am currently producing, and I hope, changed it for the better.

Hauptbahnhof, 2018, oil on paper and canvas, 30 x 40 cm, $250

Hauptbahnhof, 2018, oil on paper and canvas, 30 x 40 cm, $250

So, where am I now? Land: I throw myself into these abstract spaces that are seen through layers of paint and communicated through language. This space maps where I am in the process, it tracks my thoughts in two different, but converging, ways. Borders: where the edge of Payne’s Grey hits a line scrawled in charcoal, there is a need to read from a different part of the brain. When these different elements combine, it is necessary to translate, to shift, or to allow oneself to be lost in the in-between, perhaps. Frailty, uncertainty, blurriness.

The Descent, 2018, oil and charcoal on canvas, 6 x 8.5 feet, $1200

The Descent, 2018, oil and charcoal on canvas, 6 x 8.5 feet, $1200

Power: there is always a power dynamic when two things are forced to coexist. Maybe in a formal sense there is tension between the paint and the words, but power is also perpetually infused in the content, whether it is because I am drawing from the powerful masters of art history and reworking them, or because I am processing my own feelings of powerlessness in the process of painting, or even because the boldly painted swatches of colour that take up an entire wall, demand space and attention. Demand us to be immersed.

Pollux, 2018, oil on paper and canvas, 30 x 40 cm, $250

Pollux, 2018, oil on paper and canvas, 30 x 40 cm, $250

The last thing that I feel was an important progression is the aspect of mark-making: where form and text can combine into one amorphous thing. Perhaps because the abstract and gestural quality is so transfixed in a particular art historical tradition, namely Abstract Expressionism, putting my own words, gestures, and marks that are meant to alter that tradition is increasingly important in my work. My thoughts, manifested visually, find their space in the cannon of a male world of art-making.

To view more work by the artist, please visit www.ezraenzo.com. You may also follow the artist on Instagram @ezra.enzo.


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