start thinking about them as triggers for experiences.”
— Brian Eno
The grid and I have forged an important and evolving relationship over the years. Initially a structured safety net, the grid is now a companion, a resource, a tool—one that is every bit as important as any other part of my visual vocabulary (i.e., media, color, texture). Now there is an apparent kind of see-saw between hugging and abandoning the grid. I love the process of becoming, evolving, discovering, accident vs. chance, covering over, scraping away, adding to. Both the trip and the destination—unknown, but recognized upon arrival—are important.
I’ve developed my own vocabulary from many sources:
- Piet Mondrian’s geometry;
- Louise Nevelson’s presence and centeredness;
- Joseph Cornell’s poetic and self-contained qualities;
- Paul Klee’s playfulness, rhythm, and line;
- Sol LeWitt’s series, systems, and modular approach;
- Agnes Martin’s meditative, hand-made structures and rhythms;
- Jackson Pollock’s gesture and physicality;
- Mark Rothko’s emotive and meditative qualities; and
- Robert Ryman’s consideration of each element (paint, surface, fasteners, signature, edges) as being equally critical.
I have also been stimulated in other ways:
- Music by Beethoven, Granados, Arlen; and,
- Visually by construction sites, advertising layouts, peeling and rusting paint, fabric design, shadows.
I’m not sure why or how the grid first appeared in my work, or even why I then became so attached to the grid as a theme. I’ve spent most of my creative life exploring, exploiting, and experimenting with the grid—as well as controlling, subverting, fragmenting, organizing, and distorting it. The grid theme came early: crayon-colored jigsaw animals, math assignments in colored pencil, etc. (I even prefer using grid paper rather than lined notebook paper.) Eventually, a relative aptly named me the “GridKid.” It stuck.
I’ve often returned to the safety and comfortable habit of the grid structure. My friend, the grid, keeps me company. While a comfortable, known quantity, it is also able to surprise me with its permutations, variety, elasticity, etc. And so my ongoing and signature obsession with grids continues to develop.
I invite the viewer to stay awhile, enjoy the processes that lie behind and within my work. Engaging with your comprehension of the work, I invite you to continue the dialogue and to delight in the interplay and syncopation roaming through the artwork.
© 2023 Marcia Gilbert
All Rights Reserved