Studio Visit: Marc Cheetham
Marc Cheetham is an artist living and working in New Jersey. His work can be seen in PLEAT's April 2018 exhibition as well as marccheetham.com.
Please describe your work.
In my work, I look to counter the geometry that is present with some level of imperfection. I like to leave the edges of each shape jagged and uneven, even if ever so slightly. The fabric often has creases and wrinkles, which for me, end up being serendipitous drawings inside of the works.
Color is arrived at intuitively and often layered with thin washes. When building the color up, debris from the floor and sediment from the paint mixtures often make their way onto the surfaces. These small details help bring about the unrefined nature that I seek in my work.
What internal and external factors motivate your conceptual choices?
My work primarily grows out of itself. I tend to work on anywhere from 5-10 paintings at a given time, which leads to a dialogue between them. Moving through a painting, each shape/color placed in a composition dictates what/where the next shape/color will be. As a painting comes together, it tends to open up new questions and possibilities that I use in paintings to come. I tend to keep sketchbooks around to make note of these new ideas, and even the failed ones, so I can come back to them in the future.
There are times when the outside world plays a role in my work. This tends to be in color combinations, etc. Often our trips to the Caribbean have had the most effect, with their bright colored houses/building and seemingly serendipitous color combinations. I often take a lot of photographs of these facades, etc, for future reference.
Who are your artistic influences and what have you learned from them?
While the amount of artists that have had an impact on my work in some form or another are too numerous to mention, there are a few that always seem to hang around in my mind. Henri Matisse for his inventiveness and use of color, especially black. I feel he is the greatest colorist. His cutouts, which may be my favorites,
Bruce Dorfman, who was my mentor, his works hold a special place with me. His inventiveness and especially his ability to turn any material/object into his own, something he taught me early on that I still carry to this day in my work. I am especially moved by his incredibly sensitive use of color with subtle shifts in value or even hue.
Helen Frankenthaler for her use of color and how she managed to make everything she made look so easy. Her use of raw canvas as part of the composition, and not having it read as that, was brilliant.
How has social media affected your studio practice?
Social media has been a mostly wonderful addition to my studio practice, especially Instagram. Being able to view works of art from all over the world, that one would likely not see, has been a great experience. Being able to start a dialogue of some sort with all these artists from everywhere in the world, adds to that. It has also brought about exhibition opportunities, some of which I may not have had otherwise.