CARLYLE WOLFE   |   ARTWORK      RESUME      CONTACT
Artist’s Statement (2009)
     
    My paintings and works on paper are about awareness of the natural world—becoming progressively, cyclically more present to its rhythms, gaining deeper understanding of its design, and acquiring direct experiential knowledge of its mysterious beauty.
   

 

    The work begins quietly in drawing from observation. Outside the little house where I live, I gather various blooms and branches to draw—begonias, hydrangeas, zinnias, pink ladies, oak leaves, quince, camellias, lavender, lily of the valley… From line drawings, I isolate seemingly endless silhouettes that I cut out of printed papers. I use these papercuts in compilations connected by embroidery, as stencils for monotypes or paintings, or independently in site-specific installations. So that they influence each other and grow gradually, I develop whole bodies of paintings and works on paper simultaneously.
   

 

    The embroidered monotypes are composed using scraps of printed papers from which silhouettes have been cut. Thus, nothing is wasted. Layering these irregular shapes together recalls the overlapping of forms in the landscape. The precision of the cut edges reflects specificity and order in nature while the bleeding printed textures reference nature’s fluidity.
     
    These works on paper also reference quilting and embroidery. I think specifically of the embroidered dresses that my Aunt Polly made for me when I was a child and the creative daily lives of women in my community that contributed to my understanding of this vocation. The looping stitch marks time—passing of time, accumulation, investment. This alludes to care, kindness, and provision visible in natural beauty that also holds parts together, connects.
     
    In the paintings, I use the same silhouette shapes to describe individual forms, but I also investigate times, seasons, weather conditions, and shadows by referencing abiding observations of light and color. By abiding observations, I mean observations made during time spent in nature—whether waking early in the woods, watching a storm move over the ocean, riding a horse through constantly changing seasons, or looking at the sky from under the swimming pool’s lapping surface. I keep a collection of dated color observations—a combination of photographs and painted studies. By combining shape and colors references, I am able to make comparisons and describe accumulation of experience.
     
    When I install an exhibition, I focus on the atmosphere or environment that the work defines. I enjoy the potential for atmosphere in the large-scale paintings, but even the small works quiet spaces. I use embroidery thread and fishing weights to create site-specific installations of papercuts that repeat the shapes used to make the two-dimensional work. This stirs a comparison of implied space and actual space. The presence of the paper silhouettes also suggests significant elements of the work’s formation. The delicacy of these forms and their gentle movements reflect adjective qualities of their subjects and underpin the work as a whole.