The Walter Darby Bannard Archive

Structures - Thirteen New Jersey Artists (1984)

Catalog statement: Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey, January 22 - March 25, 1984, p. 5.

Writing about painting interests me, but I don't feel at ease writing about my own. I think I'm too close to it to see it clearly.

To make these paintings I staple canvas down on a raised horizontal platform and roll on a layer of color. When it dries I mix about two ounces of acrylic pigment in a gallon or two of gel, which is like clear-drying plastic mayonnaise, and push it around the canvas with a squeegee-like device made from a length of 1/2" x 3" pine fixed across the end of a mop handle lashed to a telescoping painter's pole. The process is like traditional knife and brushwork taken up to a very large scale.

I usually work the colored gel into a stack of loosely scalloped arcs, building the image up and scraping it down, plying it until it looks right. I have no express reason for painting this way. The method evolved from earlier methods a few years ago. It seems to be a good way to organize a picture. The pattern of wavy colored ribbons swelling up against the edges looks energetic, and the varying transparency of the thick-and-thin colored gel shows off the play of the stroke. I think it's the "touch" that makes the difference. As a friend says, "All you have to do is keep the surface alive."