Scott Malbaurn
Artist statement for “Nautical Sun” series

My work is hard-edged painting that is minimal and linear. I use synthetic water-based mediums such as silica, urethane, and acrylic resin along with pigments to make my own paint. I work on stretched canvas or linen that may be found stretched over panel. The paintings are flat color fields with lines that carve themselves through the surface. Tape is used as a drawing tool, cautiously applied to prevent the bleeding of paint. This allows an acute interaction of color. The work is assembled with many thin layers of paint by way of cross-hatched brush strokes in hopes of creating a physical substance to the painting. The overall aesthetic favors a reductive, minimalist bent coupled with physicality.

Nautical Sun is a series responding to the geometrical simplicity found in the nautical star. Like many signs and symbols, there has been an appropriation and reinvention of this sharply constructed image over the decades. The conceptual ideas that struck an accord with me is its strong historical use as a navigational icon for sailors and pirates as well as a modern day symbol of guidance for punk rock subculture. Just as this is utilized as a way finder, it also can be used for the exploration of hard-edged geometrical painting. Inherently, by employing the nautical star as a stemming point, it led me into thoughts of geography, maps, exploration, and direction.

Within the creation of each piece there was a searching for something. The search became a gesture toward the unknown, and a shift into new territory. This clued me into a diversified idiom such as patterns of primitivism and futuristic schematics of urban planning. These manifestations are what excite me about the work. The parts can be laid flat, disassembled or turned inside out. Each nuance allows a delivery with a slight deviation, presenting possibilities into different reads, especially when teamed with the bands. These are what prompted the map ideas interpreting East and West or the angling of the bands might give an action such as opening/closing, filling/dispensing. Abstract clarity may be found in some pieces and mystery in others. Through all of this, I try to reveal logic as well as my intuition for solutions that interplay into a contingent expansion of the work.