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Martyn Bouskila

Martyn Bouskila, Post Card from Monera No. 63

Martyn Bouskila, Post Card from Monera No. 63, "Here we see an early stage", 2005, 14 x 11 inches, Lacquer on panel

My paintings are usually created in series. I have an idea, which leads to experimentation with various materials. If these experiments produce forms that I find interesting and worthy of further investigation, a series is underway. This is the “variations on a theme” method of making art.

The ideas that form the foundation for a series develop from personal experience into broader thoughts about our culture and about art history. For example, with the series called “Growth Patterns,” I wanted to investigate positive and negative ideas about growth, using pattern and allover compositions. In the current series, “Postcards from Monera,” the patterns have evolved into images of a microbial universe. This less formal approach has freed me to explore the land of Monera with postmodern abandon.

Both these series emerged as a response to a personal loss. “Growth Patterns” was a kind of salve and “Postcards from Monera” more of a tonic. But personal experience, in my opinion, is only a progenitor of art, not the art itself. Without a connection to the human condition the results are merely therapeutic – interesting for the patient, less so for others.

A series doesn’t come to an end but rather morphs into a new series. As the original impetus changes or techniques evolve, new possibilities are discovered. When the newest paintings appear significantly different from the first few of a series, it is time to rename and move on. This approach to making art is only a means to an end, a strategy that suits my temperament and keeps the juices flowing. The goal for me as an artist is to make compelling images, regardless of means, and in spite of theories