The paintings I most like to look at are those made by artists who found themselves in a place of transition, sometimes with considerable growing pains: the early work of Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff, Mondrian’s tree paintings, and Dekooning’s early figure studies come to mind. The tension, stress, and physical energy manifest in these works both amaze and delight me. I suppose one can find in this work a metaphor for the condition of modern life, with its accelerated pace and constant change, and the notion of competing ideas and ideologies grinding against one another. That sense of transition or awkwardness is what I try to distill in my work. I deliberately make paintings that have no reference to the world around us. If I see a tree or bird emerge, I eradicate it. The paintings are about visceral reactions to paint. I try to surprise myself and when I’m inclined to make a shape that zigs, I instead force it to zag. My paintings should be filled with little contradictions, reworkings, and the kind of spatial logic that only exists on canvas. Several years ago, I abandoned realism. I found that once I had nailed down the basic structure and story of the piece I was essentially trapped, or forced down a very narrow pathway for the remainder of the painting. Working non-objectively allows me to be completely engaged in the moment. There is no need for me to force myself into a frame of mind that I may have established weeks prior. I am not interested in artistic angst – not in my work, anyway. The forms in my paintings are the end product of an artist who sees a world in disarray. But I am disposed to comment more as an amused spectator than a raging critic.
Jim Flahaven grew up in the prairielands of America; North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and Kansas. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing from the University of North Texas and his MFA from Ohio State. Eventually he grew tired of all that grass and moved to Maine to live and paint near the ocean. He has taught drawing and painting at the college level for the past twenty years. He has exhibited his work throughout the United States and in the occasional country overseas. This is his first exhibition in Canada. He currently lives in South Portland, Maine with his wife and daughter.