Dug Morton
March 2006

While painting landscapes in rural Massachusetts and New Hampshire from 1989 to 1991, I was drawn to the flat, rectangular time worn surfaces of the doors and roofs of barns and old houses. These two-dimensional geometric shapes seemed isolated in their surroundings.

Simultaneously, while spending a good deal of time driving, my odometer reading seemed to be calling to me. I was intrigued by the patterns appearing in the number sequences that were presenting themselves, one after another. I soon realized that the experience was jogging a childhood memory. Whenever I drew at a young age, I would line up the crayons in a specific order on the floor in front of me. Thus, in my subconscious, each color had developed a numeric notation for its position in the row. I began seeing the numbers on my odometer as a sequence of colors.

I had struggled with developing subtlety in the surfaces of my paintings. I now saw a method to explore this. I began a series wherein each painting was comprised of six rectangles in a horizontal row. The shapes were inspired by the battered barn doors. The odometer readings gave me the number of blocks and the sequence of colors, based on their "crayon" correspondence. To enhance the texture, I started the pictures with a layer of collage. For a long time I had collected trash from the streets for use in art making and I knew the weathered surfaces of these materials were a natural compliment to this developing concept. Over this I applied washes of paint.

This detachment from traditional subject matter allowed greater focus on developing the surface. Using this strict pictorial arrangement, color and texture became my subject matter.

My pictures now are sometimes representational and sometimes not. Either way, the sizes, shapes and arrangements of objects in my pictures are manipulated and altered by numeric patterns and orthogonal geometry. I'm specifically concerned with the juxtaposition of order and chaos in my work as expressed in the methodical (mathematics) vs. the unpredictable (texture). I refer to my style as Organic Geometry.