Dennis Congdon: Interview

Dennis Congdon, Afrodite (serpentine), flashe & enamel on canvas, 94 x 107 inche
Dennis Congdon, Afrodite (serpentine), flashe & enamel on canvas, 94 x 107 inches, 2014 (courtesy of the artist)

Arthur Peña talks to painter Dennis Congdon about his work which was recently on view at Horton Gallery, New York.

Congdon comments: "These new paintings begin as a location, a setting or place, and a time of day. I think that has been the case in my studio for some time now. I don't start out with an image in mind, nor a set of objects, nor a narrative line...but I do begin early on to imagine a time of day which determines the length or absence of shadows and the light in this world. The palette is linked to the light. Feels like what I imagine a filmmaker doing in scouting out a location. I am often drawing on my own past experiences of the quality of light in a particular place, but that place might as easily have been in a film or in a painting as a GPS location. I am most often trying to paint somewhere far away. Right now I work on a rock-strewn desert in the summer sun and I'm doing so in New England under skylights covered by six inches of snow. But it has always been so. How far was Sassetta's Tuscany from Golgotha?....the distance is important. It helps me to get a kind of exaggeration I want. The dramatist doesn't want 'strong light'....he calls for 'Blazing light'."