Phil Slattery

 

 

I have had an interest in visual art for many years.  About two years ago however, I began to experiment with developing my own art after experimenting with altering many of my photographs using Adobe Photoshop Elements.  Since then I have been experimenting in abstract art, often toying with the boundary between abstract and representational art.

I am fascinated with the abilities of colors and shapes to perform subtle magic, such as expressing three dimensions in a two-dimensional medium, evoking emotion, stimulating the intellect, and toying with the sense of vision.

I have been called an "elementalist", because I experiment with the elements of art: contrasting colors, bright hues and tones, textures, dispersal of selected colors across the canvas (digital or real), depth perception based on color contrasts, and so forth.  Although I prefer to let others develop the terms to describe what I do, so far I have found this description the most accurate. 

The digital work to the right is entitled "op art 4"and is one of the simplest examples of what I strive to achieve.
Red and blue contrast strongly.  If placed so that they touch, the result can strain the eyes.
Here I separate them with black, sort of a neutral color, to reduce that effect. 
I wanted to make this three dimensional. I know that people perceive darker colors as farther away and brighter colors as closer.
I therefore developed a frame with progressively darker, grainier shades of blue to give the effect of a tunnel into the vanishing point.
To have something in the foreground I put a red swirl with a tone comparable to that of the lightest blue and to use the inherent contrast/conflict of
colors to enhance the feeling of depth.  To my eyes, the effect is 3-D.  Please let me know if you perceive the same. 

Of course, I am far from the first to experiment with these ideas.  Michel-Eugene Chevreul wrote about the interaction of colors in 1839 and by then artists had already been using these basic principles for perhaps hundreds of years.  If I am achieving anything new, it is, as Newton said, only because I am "...standing on the shoulders of giants."

Until the winter of 2007 I experimented only with digital images.  Then I decided, for various reasons, to try my hand at the traditional mediums.  These have presented whole new challenges for me, but they have also presented with new opportunities for experimentation and creativity.  I have toyed with oils a little, but my small apartment does not afford me the luxury of a place to store them safely for the months it takes them to dry.  I therefore have been working with quicker mediums: acrylic, latex, spray enamel, etc.  Examples of my work can be seen on the Paintings page, but here is one of my favorites, Symphony in Red, for a quick reference:
 
  
 

      

 

 

 

  

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