“I find inspiration in the doing.”
The San Francisco based abstract expressionist artist John DiPaolo is never too sure what his efforts at the easel will eventually produce. For his work is a struggle to find the balance between his inner and outer worlds, the resolution of the effects of intention and chance, the relationship between the personal and the universal.
“I begin with an idea, usually about space,” Dipaolo told Cottages & Gardens’ Robyn Wise. “But as the painting unfolds, something enters in and changes the direction. This continues until the anchors I originally embedded have disappeared, and I’m doing something I never expected to do. It amazes me every time.”
Born in New York, DiPaolo moved to America’s West Coast in his mid-twenties to study at San Francisco Art Institute followed by a stint at the San Francisco State University to get his MFA. And whilst there his style changed from a pop art inspired realism to embrace the tenants of the earlier Abstract Expressionist movement.
Working with a richly layered applications of paint on canvas DiPaolo dances with his works in a convoluted conversation in which the artist’s control is mediated by the work itself.
As he has explained “even when you think you know what you want, it tells you what it wants. The work takes over.”
And that can take time, as he told the Wall Street International Magazine “Sometimes even the ones I love in the very beginning end up getting covered over, but with something that is even better. So I say to myself, ‘You’ve got to surrender. All you are is some in-between force that’s making this thing happen.’ It’s not about doing it so forcibly. It’s about getting the organic-ness of the material and of my experience with that to come out.”
Although DiPaolo has been making his paintings for many years it hasn’t got any easier.
As he says in the press release for his current exhibition “I’ve been doing this for 40 years and it’s still a confront every time you’ve got to start putting paint on. You’re exposed. There it is. You can’t say, ‘Oh, I didn’t mean that.’
Dipaolo’s current exhibition is on show at San Francisco’s Dolby Chadwick Gallery until the 27th of February.