Reading Daniel Butterly's The Architecture of Vision, an argument for painting as composing with spaces rather than rendering objects, I'm fascinated by how it runs counter to the dominant anti-opticality of most twentieth-century art. Using a method of geometric projection that expands on Renaissance perspective by introducing a separate space for each eye, Butterly grounds vision in mathematical objectivity, endowing it with rational authority - a notion of visual truth opposed to the subjective procedures of Pollock or the irony of Duchamp.
My own intuitive procedure has increasingly relied on touch - applying pieces of paper to drawings and acrylics, and modeling in clay, as though sensing some inadequacy in the methods of impressionistic painting; I struggle with an awareness of the visual field as immersive and mostly out of focus. I rely on relations of contiguity, as though feeling my way through the spaces around me. I turn to translating my collages into oil paintings, as though to reaffirm their structure by touching the colored patches again.
It's in this context that Butterly's geometric projection opens new possibilities. Just as Peter Campus found the video camera a "surrogate eye", offering an objective monitor to the roving vision of corporeal perception, his "reference form" offers a dialogue between rational construction and intuitive exploration. It has the additional advantage of being highly compatible with Photoshop, which I've also utilized to lend abstract structure to my landscape collages by extracting selected colors.
In a similar way, Cezanne struggled to establish a broader framework for Impressionism, which rooted the painter in his local subject, in the intimate tactility of paint on canvas - just as American poet Charles Olson believed his deep engagement with local history, in the network of contiguous places in Gloucester, would lead to a poetry of larger scale. Such ambitious visions may not be within our grasp, but we can gesture towards them by creating a dialogue between objective and subjective fields - between the overall objective view we need to orient ourselves and the more intimate one we explore with shifting attention.