Tad Mike




I work outside.


Lichen, grass, flowers and stones are some of my tools for painting and drawing.


In their marks I have discovered a language that reflects the natural world literally and abstractly. The writer Paul Valéry wrote in his Cahiers, “The effect of beautiful lines of verse derives from the disorder that they introduce into the expected order of the meanings of words, and from the order that they impose on the normal and natural disorder of the terms of discourse – and of their phonic elements.” No less is true of J. S. Bach’s perfectly composed dissonances that entwine themselves with his consonant harmonic threads. The counterintuitive movement of Bach’s counterpoint creates a sensation that once resolved within the body of a score turns into a feeling, a feeling that lingers for an unexplainably long duration in the body and mind.

The natural world with all its contradictions to the senses has captured my imagination and clarified certain notions of beauty. Patterns of pine needles or the staccato striations in the bark of a tree form interstices in the mind where the disorder of an individual element comes together as an ordered ensemble. My tools in effect choose me and the works grow from an exploration of mark-making where the language of the mark leads to an accumulation of marks eventually balancing upon each other. This matrix of mark-making, “balancing the page” as Matisse once said, is for me the realm of the poetic and where light is created in paint.

Walnut ink with its seamless, edgeless beauty has given me a means to articulate specific feelings about landscape. Having chosen this liquid as a means of expression I found in its palette great color and dynamic range. Watercolor has its own qualities and acts as a counterpoint to the paintings and drawings created with walnut ink. In its suspension of minerals, watercolor like layers of rock requires time to form and is replete with its accidental edges and dreamy diffusions.


I think it is natural for artists to want to be outside. It is in outside that the internal life is free.

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Copyright © 2010-2011 Tad Mike