top of page

My painting process is improvisational. It begins with a few simple choices but ends with difficult and opaque decisions. It could be considered a form of wayfinding. There is a logic to it, but the logic is limited or often flawed so feeling is required - feeling, intuition, subconscious urge... a little voice in the back of my mind, and a sense of nervousness when I realize that an idea is springing up. I'll have to change everything! These are the signposts I utilize to find my way when the endpoint is unclear.


Wassily Kandinsky wrote: As long as the soul is joined to the body, it can as a rule only receive vibrations via the medium of feelings. Feelings are therefore a bridge from the nonmaterial to the material (in the case of the artist) and from the material to the nonmaterial (in the case of the observer).


Emotion - feelings - the work of art - feelings - emotion


And another Bauhaus painter, Johannes Itten, wrote: It appears to me the highest completion of our human activities is that our play becomes labor and labor becomes celebration and our celebration becomes play.


I'm inspired by these two Bauhaus circuits. The circuit of labor-celebration-play and the circuit of emotion-feeling-work of art. My circuitry starts with Bauhaus ideas of geometry, repetition and color theory. I weave and 'quilt' paintings together, often using traditional quilting patterns as departure points for improvisations. In truth I’m more inspired by the weavers of the Bauhaus than I am by the painters, artists such as Gunta Stölzl and Anni Albers. The process of weaving mastered at the Bauhaus by women required a sense of design combined with a patience not often displayed by the male painters. I’ve become a very patient painter.


With this patience, I've also fallen deeper into the ‘play’ of abstraction as I've realized that the touch of brush to canvas, the mixing of paint and the movement back and forth in front of the work is the real fount of meaning in the spaces that I create, rather than imagery or symbols or stories.


I focus on the flow of thought and paint. If I make a mistake in the initial pattern, it’s often the surprise I need to spur change and growth within the work. Eventually I get to that sticky endgame of resolution - What is the painting asking from me? Have I done everything that I can or have I already done too much?


Ending a painting can be an anxious experience but the end result of this form of painterly wayfinding is a spiritual arrival, a moment of clarity and relief.

​​Christopher Reno studied painting, drawing and printmaking at Knox College, The New York Studio School, Robert Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop, Flatbed Press in Austin, Texas and the MFA program of The University of Iowa. He is currently the Gallery Director and Assistant Professor of Art at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa and the Vice Chairman of the Board of Humility Homes and Services, Inc., a non-profit based in Davenport, Iowa dedicated to providing affordable housing opportunities for everyone in the Quad Cities region. Christopher Reno lives in Galesburg, Illinois.

bottom of page