At an artist’s reception at the Field Gallery on Sunday, Tommy May explained how his paintings interpret memory and topography in color and shape. He also described his process, one that includes working on 30 paintings at once, bouncing from canvas to canvas, two different songs blaring through boomboxes. He uses the hectic pace and sound to crowd out thoughts from his mind.

Inspired by the Washington Color School painters, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jackson Pollack, he utilizes wash and stain techniques to build the base upon which the painting grows in vibrancy and texture.

“A lot of my work is about breaking down memories and imagery,” Mr. May said.

Matthew Barile surrounds himself in color. — Jeanna Shepard

Mr. May is based in Los Angeles now but spends summers on the Vineyard. His show included both the spirit of Los Angeles graffiti and Vineyard locales. He uses acrylics, krink (a graffiti pen), and enamel. His painting Swimming at Quitsa, harkens back to his youth spent swimming in the pond.

Scalloping I and II feature eyes painted in pink and yellow on blue-black-brown backgrounds. Mr. May said the eyes are those of his girlfriend, Gwen O’Neil, whom he always paints into his work.

“It’s weird, I see them as scallops too, but they are her eyes,” he said.

Gwen’s eyes also show up in Super Bloom, a painting created in reaction to the super bloom in the Antelope Valley this year. Vibrant swaths of goldenrod sit atop an expanse of rooted green with an earthy base of red-brown and bloody-blue. Uncovered canvas peaks out at the bottom.

The artist talks with Linda Fairstein about the painting she just purchased. — Jeanna Shepard

Mr. May etched symbols into the paint using his fingers. The artist admitted the outfit he was wearing to the opening was possibly his only clothes not covered in paint.

In the paintings at the Field Gallery the colors ran the gamut from cool to fiery temperatures. Wading for Wampum is deeply purple with half-covered lime green swirl and thick brushes of white and blue. Horn, a painting that started life as a drop cloth, is a garish red, with figures floating in confusion and drips of paint allowed and encouraged.

Leaning in closely to one painting, a man observed, “I love the colors.”

The reception also included a retrospective of Island artist Rose Abrahamson’s abstract work. The show will continue in The Field Gallery until Sept. 2.