The physical landscape has always inspired me to interpret and look for meaning beyond what is immediately clear. To parse and photograph the spaces that are in between the distinct shapes that we define as trees, road, earth, and water. To redefine what we know and to create a space to imagine a sense of place and of feelings.
Process is also important to me, as within each frame a potential exists that remains unseen until revealed by delving into the elements of framing, exposure and focusing. The beautiful challenge, if you will, is balancing this technical and mechanical process with creating of the emotional, the narrative and the structural intention of image making.
The paintings evoke, both through their iconography and the calibrated tone of their internal light, the stoic spirit of the Northeastern Seaboard. Wiley works in a vernacular that is pre-linguistic, but nonetheless of a kindred spirit to nautical literature, such as that of Melville. His use of pentimento and thinly washed glaze conjures up surfaces we associate with proximity to the shoreline, and place him in the broad company of modernists inspired by the ocean, from Whistler and Pinkham Ryder to Diebenkorn. There is also an affinity to the polychrome carving of the Pacific Northwest's Kwakiutl and Haida in his curvilinear forms, his symmetry and the frontal stance of his imagery.
George Lawson Tad Wiley Water Log: Recent Works on Paper 2009
I am building a very personal and specific, active object. Going back to Mondrian, a lot of his pieces, the smaller works, have these white frames around them, and it seems to me that he built them. He made this presentation of the painting within this nicely handmade panel and it is a very conscious choice to make this frame. So it's not just a frame, it's really part of the work. I like that idea that it's about the whole thing, which gets back to the idea that the painting is an object. I differentiate between shape and form — form being more three-dimensional and shape, two-dimensional. I also like this idea of confrontation on the wall. I stand upright, I look at it. I am not on all fours looking down at the ground. If I were, I would probably be making sculpture more than painting. One is more fully in contact with the earth on all fours. On two feet we are much more in contact with the sky, with the horizon.
The Jointing Point, Interview with Charlotte Mouquin, 2010, from Tad Wiley Selected Paintings, George Lawson Gallery, 2010