Map Series

As an art student I always struggled to come up with my next idea.  There was this looming hurdle of generating a new concept every time

I had completed one painting and faced starting another. The notion of working in a series hadn’t occurred to me until late in my junior year

at Oklahoma University when I studied Monet’s haystacks. It was clear that there were advantages to executing variations on a theme by imposing conditions on the same subject: season, time of day, weather. I remember lining up a number of pieces I had been working

on and then it dawned on me, looking at them

in chronological order, they read like a book. There was a continuity of thought that progressed through the work.

The benefits of working in a series were obvious. My work became more disciplined

and I was able to monitor my progress as I compared one piece to another. My critical thinking skills were honed as I made decisions regarding composition, color, and surface texture. My work got stronger because the series gave me everything I needed to be concerned with: concept development, progress in technique and skill, and problem resolution. Working in a series provided a comfortable

and productive groove.

I have produced numerous series over the years and have a warehouse of ideas resulting from mental images I’ve stored away. I started the map series in 2008 as an interpretation of the earth’s surface as seen from above. I originally used the golden mean to subdivide the picture, mimicking the linear divisions of the earth’s surface. A variety of rectilinear and curvilinear lines formed irregular shapes
that invited brush strokes and the use of some unusual tools

to represent a variety of the earth’s textural surfaces. Although the colors are found

in nature, they are invented for each composition. The subdivisions of the picture plane, surface texture and color have been consistent signatures in all my work.

A series is an exhausting process that can last three to four years or more. It is jealous and demanding.  Ultimately all concepts come to an end; they lose their freshness. The tell tale sign of closure is when the work becomes repetitious. Nothing unique is being expressed and it’s time to move on. Dealing with the times between series can be difficult; rest does not come easily without the familiar routine. Experience has taught me that even when nothing is on the worktable, it is best

to be disciplined in moving toward the goal of finding the next concept. Preparing carefully crafted panels or cleaning the studio can be the catalyst toward a renewed creativity.

Transitioning from Territory to Remapping


All the works in the MAP SERIES, from the earliest Territory, to the latest Remapping paintings, are derived from the single concept of examining the earth’s surface as seen

from above.  More intuitive in nature than

the previous Territory paintings, the Remapping series still remains faithful to

its antecedent in its attention to color

and surface manipulation. While the Territory paintings were bound to the structure of the Golden Mean, these more recent works

in Remapping have found freedom from

those compositional constraints.

Reginald Coleman