use of the word 'practice' to describe the working routine of an
artist has come into vogue. Originally, it was a word more commonly
associated with a medical doctor and yet the denomination for an
artist is also fitting for both the doctor and the artist
demonstrate a dedication beyond a job description. Both the 'true
doctor' and the 'true artist' work from a point of calling. A
calling connotes ethical, moral and even spiritual motivation.
Another similarity between the dedicated medic and the authentic
artist is the propensity to research; adhering to thorough
investigation while being sufficiently open to change to allow for
new discoveries. This kind of research requires specialisation,
patience, focus and astuteness. Both the artist and the medical
doctor must be informed, alert and able to respond to new situations
with presence of mind.
Bigelow's recently accomplished work is a series of drawings - over
two hundred in less than a year - using just red, black and blue.
His practice is a perfect example of inspired research. With an
attention to detail often associated with the scientific method,
Bigelow has executed a concentrated body of work that records the
visual charting of his mind as carefully as an
electroencephalograph. He has recorded the aesthetic decisions of a
carefully tended consciousness. Over time, he has elected to respond
to variables in shape and composition while maintaining an
identifiable 'look'—the identifiable style of a 'Bigelow' - a style
that has been present in his work over the past forty years since he
departed from a more confined expression that was aligned with
surrealism and a California funk. The 'Bigelows' of the eighties,
nineties and into the new millennium have displayed a fluid,
energetic, open-ended, juicy exploration using the elements of
abstraction. He relied more on form as manifest in shape, colour or
gestural markings than in line per se. This new work, however, with
obsessive cross hatching and outline, grant equal weight to line as
he confines himself to two or three colours of ink. RBB 2010 (Red
Black Blue) echoes the kookiness of the works from the seventies
with a graffiti sensibility that comes across like an abstract
tattoo. Quite often emblematic, the floating zaniness of Kandinsky
(RBB23) comes to mind or the visual vocabularies of Leger (RBB36),
Twombly (RBB41), Tchelitchew (RBB77), Miro (RBB08) and Ernst
(RBB07), yet the over-riding effect of this series is more akin to
contemporary than to modernism. These Bigelow creations relate back
to the earlier work, the California funk and the absolute hip-ness
of Bigelow's perspective.
Bigelow has numbered each piece so that his permutations of
slicing-and-dicing chart the chronology of his decisive directions.
C-RBB 2010 presents one hundred drawings on paper, each 6 x 6
inches, done in red black and blue ballpoint pens.