Ebb & Flow

This work was initially inspired by the ebb and flow of the tide, a natural occurrence often used as a metaphor for the fluctuating patterns of energy and activity within human life. As an artist, I equate the ebb and flow of my own life with two distinct types of 20th-century art: the painted color field, usually associated with calmness and meditation, and the drawn gesture, typically considered energetic and spontaneous. In the development stage of this series, I decided to explore the tension of the color field and the gesture when paired with one another. Thus the physical embodiment of my ideas consists of diptychs in which a painted panel and a drawn panel are combined — sometimes side by side, sometimes one on top of the other — to create a visual dialogue. Contrary to my initial concept, however, neither the color field nor the gesture is assigned a defined role as the "ebb" or "flow." Instead, I have discovered that the energy of each state — both in my own life and in the individual panels of the paintings — is different but equal, powerful and inspiring in separate but related ways. As such, the tension between the two panels becomes an additional metaphorical element for humanness, alluding to issues of duality and compatibility. Adding to this concept are the subtle psychological undertones that I invest each piece with through my choice of titles, in which I try to describe some element of the art-making process while hinting at deeper physical or psychological connotations. Thus, titles such as "Blue Underneath" and "Uncertain Pairing" imply melancholic or confused states while "Wanting Warmth" and "Orange Oasis" hint at longing and replenishment. Overall, I strive to create works that are visually interesting, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally uplifting.

Michael Pittari
2001

Ebb & Flow Statement