Artist Candace Primack composes meditative and contemplative abstract paintings by using only a few monochromatic colors and simple markings. To view more of her artwork, please visit her website.
One of my earliest memories of modern art took place at the Art Institute of Chicago while on a field trip during my freshman year of high school. Growing up in a small rural town in Illinois, there was little access to the art world and I found myself both perplexed and inspired by John McCracken’s “Red Plank.” Was it art? What did it mean? Why did he create it? What was his inspiration? That field trip, for me, marked the beginning of what has become a sort of love affair with contemporary art.
In college I studied Communications and Journalism. I later attended graduate school, studying literature with a concentration in Christianity and the Arts. It was there that I was able to immerse myself in the study of European art and church history, which for many hundreds of years, held a somewhat symbiotic relationship.
I was drawn to the stories behind the art, as well as the many layers that made up the paintings and frescoes themselves. That layering created a kind of mystery for me that was, and is, transcendent.
After starting a family, I studied pottery for three years before moving onto painting. I explored as many mediums and styles as possible, taking classes in screen printing, monoprinting, drawing and finally mixed media painting, eventually settling into abstract painting. It felt like home to me.
During those classes I met an amazing group of four women. We formed our own painting group and for seven years we met on Friday mornings to “paint and process,” tackling issues of creativity, family, current events and spirituality. As all of these women had worked in arts education, they were a great resource for me, both in their friendships as well as their artistic abilities.
My large monochromatic pieces are predominately about process. Upon entering my studio each day, I always take a few minutes to do a reading, a meditation and a prayer. This centering helps me to begin my day with gratitude.
Each painting requires several days to complete as they contain at least three layers of gesso and seven to fifteen layers of translucent paint and polymers, amidst carving and mark making. As layers are added and subtracted, it is a practice of emotional excavation, a push and pull, a give and take until it feels balanced and emotionally satisfying.
Because these painting are minimalistic in nature, color, rather than content, plays a starring role in conveying emotional awareness.
The same color is almost never applied twice, but always slightly altered between each coat so as to build up depth and intensity. My goal in painting is not to relay any specific message, but rather to invite a time of contemplation and maybe even cognitive rest. My hope is that through my work, the viewer will take a moment to just be in the moment.