My painting is equally about color, mark making, and improvisation. The work is not so much about process as about finding out what results from process.
Color has the irresistible drawing power of chocolate or opiates. It is so seductive that I can begin a composition with colors I don’t particularly like. Gradually I move into greater control of my elements. After laying down an allover ground I use an irregular grid to make hundreds, sometimes thousands of little marks on each canvas until the surface is completely covered. The grid derives from the black-and-white tile floor in the kitchen and dining room of my Italian grandparents’ sugar cane plantation in Louisiana. There is no narrative attached to this association, but it does drive my painting.
Once I lay out the grid I lose myself in the process. I apply layers and layers of gesso, acrylic, and oil over collaged elements. By weaving the pigments and textures together I integrate the surface. Layers thus appear indistinguishable from one another. The process can be compared to one or more musicians combining notes and instruments in an improvised performance.
Subtraction plays as big a role in my process as addition does. If I am not satisfied with the integration of colors and textures at a certain point, I will destroy the layers by tearing off parts of the surface, giving up the grid marks, sanding off or painting over certain areas. It doesn’t matter how much I destroy or add; I am only satisfied until I feel the work resonating the way I want it to. –Andrée B. Carter