Untitled (Mole Hole Series), ca.1967
Oil, turpentine on canvas
Earl Biss started to paint in oil at age twelve and was placed in the advanced painting classes taught by Fritz Scholder when he enrolled at IAIA in 1965. A year later he was awarded a scholarship to attend the San Francisco Art Institute. Biss’s Mole Hole paintings are organic abstractions. Upon closer inspection, the paintings resemble vertical sections of a landscape including a close up of a mole tunnel and pile of dirt. For the yellow-ochre “soil”, Biss splashed turpentine on the surface, letting gravity move the oil paint to create an almost translucent, bubbly-liquid-like effect, similar to Abstract Expressionists’ spontaneous, experimental painting methods.
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