The paintings above and below are from the Smoke series of paintings by American artist Thomas Sayre. They are produced via a semi-controlled process using baffles and fans to blow the belching carbon from an oxyacetylene welding torch unto a horizontal white panel, a medium the artist has been exploring since 2003. “The more conversant I get in the technique and the older I get, the more I can tolerate the accidental and the lack of control,” Sayre notes. He describes the process as a form of dancing with a torch, licking the surface with heat and then carefully sealing the very ephemeral smoke signals with a water-based sealer.
The first in a natural progression of two-dimensional works to stem from his sculpture, Sayre’s paintings can be viewed as a series of experiments investigating the dance of controlled lack of control.