Free Association Funnies


I am fascinated by process work, the traces, marks and images that arise out the art-making process, as one dances with the work.  For many years I have worked between my oil paintings and sketchbook work, attempting to bring the two worlds together, especially the purely drawn mark into the paintings.  That struggle has culminated in my latest pieces, a result of my love of painting, drawing, and the narrative arts.  The working title for this body of work is Free Association Funnies, a nod to the cartoon narrative arts that I have loved and studied for decades.  There are narrative elements in these works, though they are often fragmentary, standing apart from other narrative elements. Quite frankly, I often don’t know what the narrative elements mean, as I am working as intuitively as possible, responding to and from one image to the next, going back and forth, in and out, up and down within the picture.  I'm trying to remain mindful of edges and tensions, things that have been components of my work since I picked up a paint brush.  There are repeating images and triggers in the work, some of which I’ve been incorporating into my work for years:  seeds, sacs, Japanese zushis, and masks.  The bird beak/mask arose after my father passed away in 2005.  The elephant trunk mask is something more recent, triggered by I-don’t-know-what.  Some images arise from everyday life, language, and the free associative process.  Working on the pieces is like following a map that has no clear direction, but the ride is satisfying.


Rob Stolzer