Post Road Magazine #20

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Luis Coig: Paintings

In my work I explore the intersections between the scientific and the mystical worldviews with equal amounts of contempt and respect for both. As is the case with most people, a great part of my sensitivity, my attitude toward the world, was shaped when I was a teenager. At the time, I happened to live in Ecuador, a country of colorful traditions and fabulous biodiversity that lives in my memory as an enchanted land. I became very interested in nature and the magical worldview of native peoples. Many of my pieces conjure up the impressions of this part of my life.

I derive a lot of inspiration from empirical scientific discoveries and I have a passion for Biology in particular, but I also consider equally important the intuitive aspect of the human mind. The realm of the imagination is interwoven with the world of dreams and numinous visions. And true art of any kind is very much like dreams in that it reveals itself through nuance and connotation. My intention is always to create works that allow for various interpretations and hint at multiple meanings.

In 2007, I completed 102 Tiny American Paintings. Some of its constituent parts appear in this issue. This work is an investigation into the tendency of the human mind to play and how that activity drives the creative process. Using humor as my vehicle, I explore a world of folly and incongruity where every image hints at a strange and slippery insight. Each painting stands on its own, but when it is combined with the others as a single work, the viewer is compelled to search for a meaningful structure that links them. The mind seeks a narrative, but the imagery is enigmatic and skirts the edge of absurdity. There is no possible final interpretation. This approach to painting as a game stems from a desire to facilitate engagement in a culture where many are uncertain about how to view or enjoy contemporary art. In a sense, it mocks the idea of art as a grandiose, or mysterious activity.

The work is also a reaction to the pressures that emerging artists experience in today's marketplace. As a long-time resident of the United States, I have become infected with the general vanity of the dreamers and go-getters of this country to create a masterpiece or "Great American Painting". And while I have no shortage of ideas, as a relatively unknown artist, I am faced with the constraints resulting from having to devote a great number of hours to work other than painting in order to make a living. Additionally, there is an expectation on the part of galleries for an artist to be prolific and produce large works that can command a higher price. Within these limitations, my solution to develop a significant collection of ideas was to execute them as miniatures, and then combine them into one sizable piece. But it would be dishonest to say that they would have the same impact presented individually. In this sense, the paradoxical truth about these little paintings is that they aspire to be the very thing they criticize.

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