On Confluence (2001)

Philip Taaffe: Statement for Confluence

University of California at San Diego—La Jolla, 2001

Philip Taaffe Unknown PT0197

Composition with Birds, Bees & Snakes (1995-96)
Mixed media on canvas. 114 x 102 inches (290 x 259 cm)

Essentially, everything in my work is about a process of description. My attitude towards repetition has to do with the cumulative effect of continuous applications of line and color. If we focus on that, and see them as crystallized into patterns or marks, what do they add up to? They become some kind of actively structured field. I see that as being an entrance to a trance-like state. I’m interested in inviting the possibility for ecstatic experience, for getting outside of stasis. My roots are from Ireland, and I suppose a subtext to my work must relate to these Celtic shamanistic traditions. The work is also about movement, or how we see in a constant series of glimpses. What do I want my art to accomplish? What do I expect it to be like as a physical encounter? I think the best thing one can hope for is to be able to enter into another world.