AMI Project, exploring the beauty of simplicity, line and space.
Inspiration for the AMI Project
The AMI shape appeared in my imagination fully formed. I knew immediately that it was important and unique. It even had a name! Sometime later, I realized that ami is a French word for friend.
I understood, almost immediately, that the biomorphic AMI was a perfect form for a group of paintings. Later, I realized it could have other uses.
I lived with it and experimented with it for more than ten years. I never tired of it. I always knew it was special and unique. I gradually understood its value and its place in the evolution of art.
AMI does not have direct ties to any movement but the influences of Hard-Edge painting and Minimalism are self-evident. Additional conceptual influences, include eastern aesthetics and a mix of impressions gathered and developed over a lifetime.
In spite of its murky pedigree, or perhaps because of it, AMI is a significant contribution, a milepost, in the complicated evolutionary process of making visual art.
I ask myself: How efficiently can I express maximum complexity?
AMI is minimalistic but it rejects the parameters of Minimalism. It is definitely western but it includes eastern influences.
AMI is at once, simple and complex, familiar and strange. AMI is a riddle with no solution. AMI is not an abstraction. It represents nothing. AMI is an object with its own integrity. It is what it is.
Line and space are fundamental elements in all forms of art. AMI is pure line and space. AMI is outlined by a single, continuous, changing-radius, curved, hard-edge line, resulting in an asymmetrical biomorphic shape. Space may be more important. Without spaces, things have no meaning. Without spaces to rest, observers are overwhelmed. I try to balance positive and negative spaces — things and no things.
AMI seeks to be a perfect expression of painting as a minimal object. With its limited palette, custom frame and unique mounting system, each painting presents itself as a precious object and a meaningful entity.
AMI has no top or bottom. It may be displayed with any side up.
I seek conversation through art, not confrontation. People who encounter art must be free to wonder, make associations and react. Viewers bring their own unique abilities, emotions and experiences to the meeting with AMI. Every viewer will have a different experience; and the same viewer may have different experiences on different occasions.
After receiving the AMI vision, I sketched it, scaled it up, and refined it by cutting heavy paper patterns. The final shape was used for ten paintings and a number of graphic and three dimensional projects.
The AMI project is a series of eight (2cm x 61cm x 98cm) acrylic on canvas paintings and two larger paintings. The canvas is stretched over a plywood panel with integral stretcher bars and carefully folded corners that minimize folds and lines. Signatures on two edges, maintain a clean front surface and make the signature visible when the painting is hanging with any side up. Eight canvases are mounted on custom flat panel frames with (1cm) stand-off spacers made of extruded aluminum. Brass hardware is installed to facilitate hanging with any side up. The artist prefers exposed brass hanging hardware but it may be hidden. Frame, hardware and unique standoff mounting are all part of the original design and should remain intact. Two canvases (91 and 92) have no frame. They are thicker and the image wraps around the edges of the canvas. They have the same brass mounting hardware.
Masking tape was often used in the construction of the lines. The line width of AMI 4 was particularly difficult. It is not exactly constant width and it was reworked many times. After AMI 4, I experimented with CHARTPAK graphic tape seeking a perfect constant width line; AMI 5, 6, 8 and 92 were made using graphic tape.
In its simplest version, AMI 4, the shape is defined by a single constant width line. This seems, to me, to be the best depiction of the minimalist concept. AMI 7 has no lines at all: the white AMI shape is surrounded by a gray field. AMI 1, 2 and 3 have outlines that vary in width. AMI 5 and 6 have two overlapping shapes and constant width lines made with graphic tape. AMI 8 is dark gray with white constant width contour lines. AMI 91 is acrylic on canvas. AMI 92 is acrylic and graphic tape on canvas. AMI17 is a digital graphic of seventeen AMI shapes in four different orientations and sixteen different overlapping relationships.