I started making the paintings on my site while I was working on my Masters thesis at Pratt. I was writing about relationships between Pre-Colombian sacred landscapes and Earthworks, and more specifically how both expressions evolved around natural elements of time.
The pieces I began to make were inspired by Gerhard Richter’s squeegeed abstracts and Mark Rothko’s colorfield paintings. Through this study and process I started to notice how aspects of time were an important component of my work.
These abstracts come from a process that utilizes two of time’s key components – friction and movement – to exploit the materiality of paint. Cumulative layers of paint are dragged across a rigid support, lifted off, and placed back down. Scrapes, marks, and color blends are left behind and are not unlike the traces that accrue on our streets and in our homes from our daily comings on goings. Repetition and movement mark our days.
My interest in music is also a driving force behind these works. What happens in a painting is similar to what happens when you hear music. There are patterns of repetition, percussive devises, variable tones and pitches, and moments of harmony and discord. Be it in a painting or a song, these items are brought together to create space – one audible, one optical – both sonorous and resonant in their own right.
As colors mix on the panel, marks, lines and light intrinsically emerge. I take notice of – and work with – the unique blends, surface breaks, and other incidental details that come forth. Each painting takes its title from the day on which it was completed, thus leaving a meditative gesture towards the anonymous day.
Justin Terry grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received his BFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned two Masters degrees from Pratt Institute (MFA – Fine Arts & MS – Theory, Criticism and History of Art, Design, and Architecture). He is currently represented in Nashville, TN by Zeitgeist Gallery.