The creator of "Faustus' Lament" can surrender totally to subjectivity because the material's pre-determination removes all the worries of construction; and so this, his severest work, a work of utmost calculation, is simultaneously purely expressive.

--Thomas Mann, Doktor Faustus


Some ten years ago I began painting monochrome fields with the intention of confirming the phenomenal reality of the object and diminishing what I perceived to be arbitrary in conventional pictorial composition. The process of reduction led me to speculate that the most radical painting would eradicate expression. To this end, I looked toward instrumental language. Graphs, diagrams and video images seemed the appropriate model, in that they are not generally expressive in and of themselves but create an order in which representation takes place. Because the underlying structure of this model is the Cartesian grid, I began employing it as the structure which would determine all manipulations of the painting, reiterating its two-dimensional surface and limiting the effect of the virtuoso performance. The resulting paintings did not eliminate self-expression as I had speculated, but reinforced the idiosyncratic contingencies of subjectivity. While I am interested in notions of an immanent experience with painting, earnestly involved in exploring the confluence of its sensual and intellectual properties, I am skeptical of this possibility. Our culture devalues the actual, with preference given to secondary sources. Often, reproduction and criticism precede the paintings themselves. I seek to create paintings that reside ambiguously between singular works and reproductions.

John Andrews

Analog, 2015