Rob Wardell’s recent paintings are an exploration of architecture with an emphasis on windows. He uses a method that blends East and West with an emphasis on texture, form and color.
Wardell starts with the architectural imagery from a Hellenic aesthetic: one of permanence, symmetry and perfection. From that point of departure, he incorporates the Zen sensibility of Wabi-sabi with its respect for asymmetry, incompleteness, random imperfection and focus on nature. The two approaches merge organically as the painting evolves. He deconstructs and rearranges the architectural forms of symmetry and line. Not wanting to destroy them, but instead, merging, melding, and commingling to infuse the basic structural elements with the more organic systems of nature, such as roots and vines.
Color and texture are central to Wardell’s work. His color palette is intuitive and usually subdued with a subtle vibrancy. He begins each painting with two or three colors for the work in mind. As with the imagery, his color selection unfolds naturally. Tactile surfaces in relief and shadow are key elements of his work. On hardboard or stretched canvas, he layers papers, bamboo, wood, sand, twine, ribbon, cloth, drywall tape, and other materials, along with thick layers of gesso. The theme of his product is exemplified in the process as he builds up and breaks down visual elements through folding, cutting, scoring and sanding surfaces. He then applies between six to ten layers of gesso before adding the final surface color.