James Beaman

About the Artist

James Beaman's signature style is defined by the repetitive process of applying and then scraping thick layers of paint on and off his canvases.  Foregoing traditional paintbrushes in favor of large spackle knives or wide trowels, Beaman applies paint as if he were applying plaster to the wall.  Large swathes of acrylic paint are applied and scraped away in successive stages, until the final multilayered product achieves its most "cohesive state."  The artist's surfaces are sometimes dominated by one predominant color, but in some pieces, we see that the artist has made bold color choices, resulting in wild, multi-colored compositions.

Beaman's process is the point.  Impulsively, he applies each new color to see how it reacts with its neighbors.  The color drips in unexpected ways, and then with a discerning eye, the artist flips the canvas to let the next color drip in an opposite direction. According to the artist, the "paintings evolve through a repetitive process in which an initial structure becomes an ambiguous undefined space strangely descriptive of things we might know but can't quite place."

James Beaman received his M.F.A. in painting at East Carolina University in 1988.  He now resides in Baton Rouge and teaches painting at Louisiana State University.  Beaman has exhibited in his native North Carolina at the Greenville Museum of Art, the Fayetteville Museum of Art, and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.


Artist's Statement

My paintings reflect the randomness and complexity of memory.  In memory and painting, different times find an unlikely cohabitation and things are constantly transforming into other things, strangely descriptive of things we might know but cannot quite place.  Forms come from a specific place, time, diagram, drawing, or photograph.  A single object or assembly of objects is presented, unidentifiable yet familiar, half submerged in an undefined space.  Unstable in meaning these objects freely associate with my imagination but never quite acquire a convincing name.

Painting for me is about following an impulse and a curiosity rather than knowing where I am going to go.  This perception is defined by how what the eye sees triggers a series of responses and reactions.  Hybrid forms and ambiguous subjects are explored through the merging of paint and image.  The ambiguity that embodies the forms and images relates symbolically to their real world counterparts.  However, they are things in themselves with only links to the world of events and phenomena.  Therefore, a documentation of personal artifacts is disclosed by way of visual images.  Moreover, a personal dialectic is created that represents life occurrences that are abstruse, but to which the viewers can give their own interpretation.


Updated December, 2012.

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