To me a painting is a simple proposition: This is X, or this is not X. Each new painting presents a unique challenge, and each time it must prove anew its validity as a thing existing in the world—a thing that asks its own question and necessarily has to provide its own answer. Am I a painting? Am I confirming or denying your understanding of what a painting should be?
A 'finished' or 'successful' painting, then, is a statement, a statement that uses non-verbal language of its own invention, or of the artist's invention. To that end I am, at the moment, searching for ways to explore and expand my vocabulary as a painter. I am interested in finding new tools and means for making marks and creating contrasts. In so doing I hope to push and perhaps call into question established credos and conventions of image-making. Rothko said: "The most interesting painting is one that expresses more of what one thinks than of what one sees."
These are the things I think about when I'm looking at my work and wondering what drives me forward, and such thoughts tend to leave me posing new questions for myself: Is it still possible to discover new territory in abstract painting today? Is painting as a medium still able to express something essential about human life and culture in this age? How can I make work that exposes something of what it means to be an artist working here and now? Is my work innovative?
These questions delineate an analytical process involving the artist and his work, as well as his involvement with and connection to the broader world around him and the critical discourse of his time. My work should be a reflection of my engagement with this analytical process. If my work is successful, then my propositions are also my statements, and my paintings will speak for themselves.
Simeon Amstutz, 2015