Uncertain Pairings

The starting point for this series is the idea of balance and imbalance — or, more specifically, investigating the dynamics of balance within a work of art. The works in my earlier "Ebb and Flow" series were balanced and symmetrical (consisting of two opposing squares), but in this series I wanted to explore asymmetrical balance and imbalance. On one level this approach is a fundamental element of design, something I was quite aware of as I worked with all white templates making preparatory studies. There is also a strong correlation with the study of art works typically connected with compositional study — the symmetry of a Byzantine icon versus the asymmetry of a Mondrian painting, for example.

My reasons for working with two panels, aside from originating in the earlier series, are to establish a conceptual parallel with the study of balance. In other words, I see in my work a visual demonstration of balance and imbalance — how, for instance, a small, brightly colored panel offsets a much larger panel of drawn lines; or, in contrast, how a larger panel of saturated color overwhelms a smaller, almost all-white panel. This perceptual element becomes philosophical when one considers what these pairings mean. For me, an individual panel's incompleteness becomes resolved, or completed, when paired with another panel, even if the pairing of the two panels presents a departure from the typical way we view pictures. This paradox reinforces the fact that as viewers we see, at any given moment, much more than we view. There is always something outside the frame, so to speak, that affects our perception.

This visual paradigm, of two incomplete panels forming a complete whole, suggests to me corresponding dynamics of activity: the multiple thoughts that occur simultaneously within the brain; or the ongoing subtext of secondary meanings that runs continuously within any given dialogue. These concepts allude to both personal and societal issues, some of which may be hinted at in the titles, but the paintings are not intended as visual illustrations. They are, first and foremost, visual manifestations of an artist's mental and physical process (to which the titles also refer), and so one can enter into these works on any number of levels. One starting point might be the marks within the paintings themselves, the physical interaction of colors and lines that simultaneously references a variety of visual cues.

Michael Pittari
May 2003

Uncertain Pairings Statement