I have recently begun quite a new body of work – starting in June of 2005 – that I am right now calling Really Short Stories. For the year or so prior to that, my paintings were largely untitled. They were primarily color riffs, using stones and rocks as a color element in an otherwise fairly traditional (if minimalism can now be considered somewhat traditional) painting. They were also sort of the end-thought to a body of work spanning about five years’ time. (This older work is still up on my website, www.khammett.com).
This new stuff is by and large letting the title – a very short story, as I see it – dictate what the image becomes. It is still essentially an abstract painting, but an evocative title can suddenly bring a different apprension of the image viewed. I like the oblique way . . . so for example, Morning Mourning is – to me - all about Mary (the mother of Jesus), with muted “Mary” shades of blue, and shapes that make me think a bit of the frequently tilted head of the mother of Jesus in the multitude of paintings that have her with her son, gazing at him. But one could view this piece without the title and see something else entirely. And people do, generally speaking! It is so interesting to hear someone talk about what they see in a particular piece of non-representational work. Like a Rorschach test, with no annoying psychiatrist.
Just one other thought on this new stuff – I am finding it interesting that while the mark-making of my work is very consciously and deliberately analog (subtractive fingerprints), the images sometimes have a high-tech feel to them, like something you might see under a microscope, or in an X-ray. Go figure.
-- Kate Hammett, April 2006