Through the exclusive use of line marker paint – the industrial medium used to define the limits, borders and boundaries of highway, road and urban structures which regulate vehicular or pedestrian movement; C.Wells has developed a painting practice akin in spirit to that of the topographer, executing ideas like a contemporary journeyman avid for information. Creatively itinerant and multi-disciplined, the line marker is used as a filter or a conceptual index to work towards an overall schema.
Auditing the history of line marking, beginning with its origins in Trenton, Michigan in 1911; the project is analogous to a sociocultural pursuit as much as one that is at home in the realm of art making; his work explores implications between the line marker and ideas of order and edicts. As a means of symbolic communication as well as an aesthetic force within the landscape, the line marker is thought of as an allegorical crest of urbanization – its history significant but its contemporary use and future possibilities just as compelling. Exploring how the line marker is utilized today as a global and cross-cultural civic gesture to its metaphoric properties that can signify everything from wanderlust to pop culture; Wells’ emphasis is found in the line marker’s imageability as an emblematic code.
Since 1996, he has concurrently established a painting component (works on canvas and other surfaces), an ongoing photo-performance component (painting in situ), and a writing component (text works as a means to theorize and narrate his process). Historic notations have been developed in the work as a means to connect the painted art objects produced to the specific notion of painting-in-the-world.