Scott Turri
The Catbird Chronicles

My work has always been about finding a balance between the personal and cultural as well as integrating these concerns within an art historical context. At times, the work becomes very personal but remains grounded in an abstract language. The output is generated from snippets derived from our visual language, including the language of painting, which are transformed by technology and then spliced together through the use of a computer. These snippets, like samples; either found and manipulated or created, become parts which function as a set of variables and are used in a variety of scales, permutations, and color combinations throughout. This set can and does expand, with some of the variables falling in and out of favor as the process of making unfolds. I draw upon ephemeral visual sources that may or may not be recognizable; such as a rasterized image of lake water, the dot pattern of an image that has been enlarged and reproduced on a copier, painted over graffiti, rust on the side of an abandoned steel mill, shadows on the outside of a tent, to name a few, and also invented linear and shape like forms. Compositions resulting from these sources are infused with the language and look of Pop, Minimalism, and post-painterly abstraction. Because the imagery is either invented, altered, and taken out of its original context, it then functions in a realm that is not solely dependent on its connection to language.

Ultimately, the appearance of the production is decided on the computer. The intersection of computer developed models and the final outcome has become more significant as I have gained proficiency in the use of a variety of software packages, and also in conjunction with how technology has shaped the way we see as a culture. The work is dependent on my ability to use the computer and my intent is to mimic the look of the computer screen, reflecting the computer age where the monitor shapes our visual paradigm and mirrors the disconnected impersonal quality of computer mediated communication. By using imagery that comes from a variety of sources: such as automatic drawings and digitally manipulated photographic imagery from private and public spaces, the work is conceptually attached to how I take in information, filter it through my private self and then make it available publicly. This process is in direct response to the pervasive ever expanding phenomenon of the disintegration of the private self. It reflects my own desire to maintain control in the face of the continued erosion of the notion of a private self in an increasingly public world. Although, I utilize today’s technology I still have the desire to subjugate it to the hand made. In fact, part of why I remain a painter in today’s climate: with its frenetic pace, abbreviated sense of communication, and ADHD personality, is to slow down the world around me. Therefore, I cling to the anachronistic still image. The process of making the paintings is an integral part of my practice. It is patient, meticulous, with a great emphasis on touch. Although the paintings are smooth, made with precision and with little evidence of the hand, they are still expressive but the approach allows the viewer to respond to the image in its graphic manifestation.

It has become difficult to decipher between that which is relevant and what is not because of the communication and information overload. I have chosen to mimic this phenomenon by using mostly mundane images, cutting and pasting them together digitally, much like montaged film sequences, and fashioning them into visually provocative pieces. Although I abhor a lot of what I see and hear around me, like a catbird I can’t help but imitate it. However, I work to shape this experience into something concrete and provide the viewer with a customized environment using a limited matrix of variables.