The overlap between written communication and design. There are aesthetic, as well as practical, decisions made when languages are designed. There are also practical (communicative), as well as aesthetic, decisions made when designs/paintings are created.
The Lovers series:
My imagery is not based on any language or pre-existing design. When I am sketching I am not thinking of what the characters “mean”, like, represent or depict. Although, sometimes I will have a certain mood in mind or movement/affect of a dancer, farmer or killer. And that comes through in the drawings I guess. I think this is the real crux of the language/design question. They are both both. Never 100% Subjective or 100% Objective.
The placement/order of the characters are based on a personal formula. The final design creates itself through pre-set rules.
The seam of the patterns (and the abutting of panels in the multi-panel works) directly reference the patterns of Kuba Textiles from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Often there are two or more opposing patterns on one cloth. The weaving is started by one person and then maybe finished later by another. For example the first pattern may be a checkerboard of 7 squares across and the second pattern is a grid of “X’s 5 units wide. The two patterns don’t match, like two records' beats mashed up wrong. These are the true edges, hedgerows that separate, but also introduce or translate, two different fields. The open plains, dead end streets and end of the map landing strips that occur on the periphery of the panel are the brackish of the image – ports, locks and keys to the soft transition of depth perception of two plains demarcated by a hard edge.
The abutting of the panels creates an ultimate edge. Opposing or conforming patterns collide, dance or ease/slide float/hover like an air hockey puck. This hard edge mimics the hardedge of the “scrimshaw” area. Scrimshaw is the nautical technique of carving into Ivory or bone and then filling the resulting groove with pigment. My process is similar except I am carving out of paint (on panel) and filling with paint. Subtractive and additive. The paintings have no layers – no overlapping. They are on different planes and have opposing textures. This increases the ambiguity of positive/negative space differentiation and the “classic” negative space starts to pop out as the positive space – the pool becomes an island.