My gestural abstractions explore the human condition through a candid look at my own life — past and present.
My work channels intensely personal emotions and memories through my art's physical, spontaneous, and improvised creation process; it involves many layers of addition and subtraction, throwing, slashing, dripping, and dragging paint across the canvas. I often remove parts of the canvas through a combination of sanding, scraping, and erasing — repeating the process countless times to reveal the life cycle of the canvas beneath. While my work is profoundly personal and tireless, my frenetic brushwork and clashes of color invite the viewer to experience their emotional reaction and discover different interpretations and meanings throughout the canvas.
My work is a culmination of years of both self-taught drawing and painting and more structured and formal art education, beginning during my early teens and high school with the mentorship of the artist and educator Roe Harper. They made all of her students understand that we were not just aiming to be artists but already artists. Upon meeting Roe, I discovered Joan Mitchell and the first and second-generation abstract expressionists who would come to inspire my work. I further refined my painting skills at Alfred University. I later received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pace University in New York City. I also engaged in additional creative pursuits, including stand-up comedy, screenwriting, and songwriting, which continuously informed my painting.
In 2016, I relocated to Florida, where I met esteemed painter Tim Sanchez, who would critique my work. Under Tim's mentorship, I discovered a newfound approach to the canvas by creatively layering the canvas using different methods and techniques.
My work is an apex of everything I have learned regarding technique and form, allowing each piece to go through dozens of iterations before I am satisfied with its completion—in each piece, you can see the history, struggle, and ultimate growth. I paint every day, and although each canvas reflects my current state of being, I have no preconceived notions about how the painting will end up and allow the final result to come to fruition organically. I sometimes use emotions and memories to invoke varying color palettes, forms, and compositions. The paintings are simultaneously light and dark, serious and whimsical, always with a certain tension that makes the audience look and then look again to resonate in whatever feelings or things they see through these abstractions.
2019 Solo exhibition “I M Ian: Emerging Abstractionist”, Center for Spiritual Care, Vero Beach, Florida
My first professional exhibition, a solo show in November of 2019 at the Center for Spiritual Care in Vero Beach, Florida, was followed not long after by the onset of the Coronavirus—a pivotal point for not only my work but the entire art world. Although the pandemic has changed much of my anticipated career trajectory, including relocating to Miami earlier this year, it has motivated me to find new ways to adapt and evolve to the ever-changing world.