Monday, March 31, 2008

Love Hovels

10" x 12"
I've been painting a series of "Love Hovels". Indications of some unknowable public/private (and possibly creepy) human habitation motivate the paint exploration. With these paintings I believe (and hope) the narrative and formal are morphing into an 'other', in terms of viewing experience. 10" x 12"
I want to suggest space, or rather place, so that we imagine it rather than see it; as we experience it when reading. One quirk in the work of untrained artists is their suggestive representation of space. While a naive artist may intend an illusion of space, their nonacademic approach derails this goal. They give enough clues, and we know what they mean. We can't really see it though, as a convincing illusion, and so we must imagine it. We get to imagine it. And what we imagine is more of a place or even an idea than it is a space. (And I believe this is different from when an image is intentionally rendered flat/non-illusionistic).

I'm loving the hovels.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bohdan Osyczka

Art & Lit writes on Bohdan Osyczka at Sixth & Sixth Gallery in Tuscon. Monica McFawn, in reference to Osyczka's work, offers an insightful characterization of process painting:

The paradox of gestural, expressive methods such as Osyczka’s is that while the end result is Modernist and concerned with formal elements, the method itself is making a conceptual claim. Art, performative painters seem to say, is as elemental and uncontrolled as the path of fire or the rolling in of a storm, and therefore the painter’s duty is to create the conditions for art (paint, gravity, etc) and watch what happens. In life, we try to control or minimize chaos, but in painting, artists like Osyczka preserve (or even encourage) chaos to find the aesthetic power within it. Exactly how that power is emphasized is dependent on the artist’s touches of willed design, and that is where the painting succeeds or fails. Osyczka’s watercolors try for a symbiotic relationship between will and chance, an admirable aim for both life and art.

I like the term "performative painters", and I've always felt this method of formal exploration is deeply conceptual. It's so amazing when someone describes such an experience in words.

Happy Easter From Kildare Avenue

Monday, March 3, 2008

Almost nothing, almost everything

not really titled, 1999, 14" x 20"
Is it selfish to pursue hook-less paintings? Is it lazy and lacking in motivation? Is it introspective to the point of being anti-social?

When I painted it, I found this mundane little painting intriguing in a non-verbal, non-contextual way that two-dimensional art sometimes is. I still do. I felt a little sad because I believed no one else would respond to it. No one else would see the nothing/everything I experienced. It's just too vague and internally perceived. Even if it is materially manifested, the painting is so lacking in PR.

Someone purchased it, which greatly surprised me. Trying not to sound too much like "why the hell did you buy this nothing painting?", I did inquire and the response was a bit vague and mentioned that it reminded him of his grandparents' place. This is quite acceptable to me.

I've always welcomed visual, subjective, and/or conceptual hooks for my paintings. I like the can-do and win-win energy of working with a clever zinger. It's creates a challenge and often a battle for balance (with non-clever possibilities), and/but it easily slips into gamesmanship.

When I do paint wallflower paintings like this, I need to be more insistent, verbally and in writing, about their value. It seems impossible, but I am determined to learn how to do this.