Though I never consciously thought of this group of works thematically as Marks and Tracks, paintings can assume different characters at different times—a type of evolution of interpretation.
This particular series evolved from a combination of two incubation points. Tracks initially was conceived as a series I designated as Gypsy Roads. This is a theme depicting the wandering trails and journeys of the Roma people in Eastern Europe prior to World War II.
The Marks theme covered another touchstone of forms. These paintings are based on my lifelong fascination with the clefts, fissures, and striations that are geological notes in rock forms drawn by nature in its prehistoric gyrations, scraping, and tumultuous forming of this planet. I have always viewed these markings as a type of pre-language to be deciphered.
The combinations of both forms, tracks and marks, on the same canvas, became an idea initiated by observing computer screens with their overlay possibilities of two or more different kinds of imagery. With this observation in mind, I began to sample and overlay these two themes of my paintings on one canvas.
Though there was a different incubation point at the beginning of these two styles of painting, one can today reinterpret a part of my past as an evolution.
I have always felt that the incubation idea for any painting is a minor detail relative to the actual outcome. Any trigger whatsoever that gets the artist to paint, sculpt, or draw is a talisman to be revered.
Every brushstroke is a decision. Each decision results in a mark. The marks track the gesture of the painter’s hand. They also lay down color, value, motion, line or mass, and the amount of paint on the artist’s brush.
Some decisions are intuitive, while others are logically thought out, but the process of mark-making eventually creates the painting.
I am intrigued by the marks that are made by reflecting light. Sun shining through frost on a window and light projected on a painting create lines and marks that would not be seen without that light. But is it the light that creates those marks? Or are the marks there, and the light just makes them visible to the eye? Does it matter?
Image at top: Maury Colton, Untitled, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 24 x 30 in., 2015.