“M A R K S   M A D E  B Y   T I M E”

Mississippi is an amazing place to live. I’ve never gotten tired of exploring our outdoors: the deep woods of the Pine Belt, the mud of the Delta, and the backwaters of meandering rivers and lakes of the gulf coast. There seems to be a common rhythm and life to our land, beating at its own pace and pattern. Using the expressive practice of abstract painting, I’m exploring the rhythms, patterns, and lines that are constructed through time; the marks made by time on our land.

Time is essentially the main focus of my artwork. I am interested in exploring the effects of time on land visually through the medium of painting, as well as other artistic mediums. Through humans’ eye and measurement, time is a distinctive click, click, click. One line designated by another line; a quantitative measurement from one moment to the next. Not only is it human’s perception of the world around us, but there are also distinctive lines in nature that have this same visual pattern. Obvious examples include the growth rings of trees, rivers carving progressively deeper gorges, or the ridges of sand left behind from the continuous in and out of ocean waves.

Another example of how time is manifested on our land is taking a cross section of the earth, revealing distinctive layers. As time beats over and over again on the earth, layers of different distinctive dirt, rock, and stone form a pattern of lines and layers. Similarly, but with other natural forces, lines lace the golden mountainsides in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and really anywhere there are stone canyons. Finally, who can’t overlook the Colorado River Basin? Year after year, as this fresh water carves itself through the land, it creates very distinctive patterns and rhythms. It carves lines through the earth which reveal these layers, geological layers. Line after line after line.

Through time – distinctive back and forths, click, clicks – lines are formed. Time has a way of carving itself, manifesting itself, revealing itself on our planet. While it does have its ticks – tocks, it is the variations in these that creates the true beauty, the soulful music. Rivers don’t flow in straight lines, mountains aren’t giant cubes, and our coastlines dance. Variations in the lines makes the beat turn into music and for the colors to mux into a painting.

My more recent paintings exhibit these ideas more than ever before. “2015 – Spring – 04, 05, 06” are literally composed of layers of color and texture, but also layers of lines, stacked atop each other, winding thru the environment. My lines represent this rhythm, the curve of our coast, the curves our rivers make, the layers of rock. These are the natural lines that are carved in time.

Furthermore, “2015 – Spring – 10” exhibits a very detailed amount of ink drawing on top of the acrylic background. This particular piece took me longer than usual, with the intention of truly letting time take over the piece. Not unusual for me, transcending time and painting “in the zone” allows one to spend many hours on something without realizing it. This piece truly was a meditation of drawing in time, a constant back and forth, creating layer after layer as it eventually begins to sing on its own.

I intentionally relate the performing of music to my painting. I’d hope for a viewer to approach one of my paintings as if about to hear a new song for the first time. From the roots of Mississippi, hopefully it will be a colorful tune you can tap your foot to.

Clay Hardwick