Edmond Praybe – Statement

My current work is an ongoing body of paintings and works on paper investigating the intersection of rigorous observation and formal abstraction through the vehicle of still life painting. These works pair intense direct observation of the motif with an underpinning abstract structure, rhythm, shape and color. I try to find common ground between the pursuit of translating the seen world into paint and developing carefully arranged divisions of geometry and movements of surface color and tone.

The objects in these works have all been held on to over many years, not only for their visual qualities, but for their attachments to certain memories, places and people. Old clothing, dishes, vases, hemlock cones, birds nests, fabric scraps and stones all contain small stories and memories. I image these stories co-mingling across time and space and converging in unassuming vignettes arranged in the studio. Certain elements reappear from painting to painting like characters weaving in and out of intertwining narratives. Figures make themselves know occasionally, but often the human element is only eluded to by the signs of daily activity; a cup and saucer, a meticulously placed collared shirt, heirloom bowls, seashells from a favorite family trip and various bric-a-brac all overtly staged by the human hand. The stories the objects in these stagings tell are opaque. Their meanings open to a slow unraveling of elusive symbols and connotations; the folds of a christening dress repeat in a sea of white china and shells or bits of bone and dried flowers weaving into the pattern on a cut of fabric. Room has been left open for exploration of the visual and material qualities of the paintings without the trappings of explicit narrative.