This is a partial image of one work out of a 1972 exhibition at Jefferson Place Gallery. Other works were Coney Island Ghost, Impenetrable Foam Tent, Foam Cloud, Foamed Chains…
This was the end of the Foam Works. From this point on I moved away from actively working with this material, urethane foam. It wasn’t that the work couldn’t have continued it was about moving the work back to a direction that was less affected by the perception that the work was just about material.
The Foam Works were never just about materials. They were solutions for ideas and attitudes about painting. The Foam Pieces began as a solution to a visual game. The history of painting for almost a thousand years had been to use the rectangle as the boundary of the image. The rectangle, the rectilinear was the controlling form for the organic contents of the image. I now had the tools to reverse that imagery. I could take an organic form and have it control the rectangle. It could be the supportive structure or element in the work.
One of the things I realized as I worked on these new works was that I could have the illusion of materials pouring against the visual appearance of gravity. A form exhibited on earth could have the illusion of pouring beyond gravity’s field. I knew of no artists thinking about those possible illusions that could now be thought of as a result of man’s experiences in Space beyond the earth’s gravitational fields.
Meeting Bob Irwin in this time frame gave me new insights about the potential of visual understanding. Ultimately I was not interested in minimalism as a reductionist esthetic but only the parts of minimalism that allowed me to isolate and define visual properties of the elements I was interested in pursuing.
Painting is not just about “Fast, Flat Surfaces.” For me paintings existed both as Conceptual Spaces and Real Spaces. When Hoffman spoke about “Push Pull” and color theory that is what I believe he was referring to, the painterly space. I took some imaginary & painterly space that had been developed by some of the Washington painters and grafted into it what I had learned about space, form and color. That more personal use of those elements was what I was looking for.