My principal passion as a painter has always been color and the sense of light it can evoke. My paintings are abstract but the visual experiences they present to the viewer may sometimes suggest impressions of the visible world, natural or human-made. Since vision is perhaps our strongest link to our surroundings, it is not surprising that even the most abstract art will often remind us of something we have seen.
Kinross #10 is a painting from a series of related works of 1985-86. The title is taken from the name of a town in Iowa, my home state. For several years prior to painting Kinross #10 I had been using place names both as titles for paintings and the source of compositional material. Put simply, I used the letters of the title to locate points on a grid to initiate a complicated multilayered compositional process somewhat similar to subjecting a short musical motif to a series of transformations.
The Kinross series provided a temporary break from complexity: In these paintings I worked more intuitively and with fewer elements, of a somewhat larger scale, in simpler compositions. All of the paintings in this series have irregular boundaries and simple color schemes in which large areas of color contrast with linear structures are anchored to the edges of the format.
Although strictly geometric in shape these color areas are more brushy and atmospheric than hard-edged, and vary in appearance from transparent to opaque.
I first experimented with irregularly-shaped canvases in the mid-1960s. hoped that working within an odd or difficult format might have a tonic effect on my sense of composition. It did, for I came to realize that the irregular shape of the canvas could simply be thought of as the natural boundary of the elements (shapes and lines) used in the composition. This is the case with Kinross #10 and many other paintings of mine with meandering boundaries.
I was thrilled when Rheta and Peter Auer purchased Kinross #10 in 1986 for their own collection. They lived with it for many years in a beautiful setting and I am very happy that it has now found a new home, and new viewers, at Ithaca College.
Michael Boyd, October 2002
Michael Boyd is a visual artist. More information on his work and on the painting above can be found at www.geocities.com/mboyd.