Blair Vaughn-Gruler makes paintings that are driven by procedure and process. Accumulation, repetition, erasure and the physical motions made in the process of mark making harken back to her many years practicing martial arts, and foregrounds the body’s relationship to painting.
A Michigan native and New Mexico transplant, Vaughn-Gruler has been obsessed with paint since childhood. Her spare, non-objective compositions are exercises in organizing space. Even when shapes or lines repeat themselves to excess, a calm arises out of the chaos.
As the conceptual love child of Cy Twombly and Agnes Martin, Vaughn-Gruler (born in 1955) makes paintings to reconcile her early modernist training with the lived experience of the information age.
She holds a BFA in painting from Northern Michigan University and a MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College of Fine Art.
Artist Statement: Paint is, for me, an ointment, which I use to mediate the space between sets of potentially oppositional considerations, like body and imagination, or past and present.
My practice is built around process; mark making, repetition, accumulation, erasure and the viscosity of the paint itself. I’m also concerned with my physical relationship to paint, including the motions inherent in the process of mark making, and the many references this mark making makes towards writing and reading.
As the mark making becomes deconstructed into lines, language is referenced but the meaning is left unclear. This circles around the idea of asemic writing, which utilizes the formal elements and structure of written language. In my current work, meanings emerge, repeat, and then forget themselves back into the paint. There is a melding here, between the meaning-making activity in the brain and the visceral sensations in the body.
The practice of laying down multiple layers of media, drawing between and on the layers, and repeating the procedure, makes physical the thought process itself, as the paint glues ideas and experiences together. This tension between decipherment and embodiment informs and inspires my inquiry.
My current work speaks to information overload, organizing and compartmentalizing said information, and making sense of chaos through visual linguistics.