It's a Comprehensive Investigation/Stew

Self-doubt, as I've read, is part of being an artist, but so perhaps is going down in flames.

As the paintings get painted, the words get laid out and the photos sorted through I inevitably start to worry about this might turn into a pack rat compilation of modes, styles and mediums, all masquerading as a project

Painting on plywood
Paintings on canvas
Text on gloss paper
Patches and coins
A book.

Those are the elements of RotoZero that need to be assembled into cohesive, narrative exhibitions. Subject matter also changes: Dudes, clouds, caves, tracer fire, mod buildings, hands. Well, yeah, I'm bouncing around. But when I get to worrying I think of Paterson Ewen and Gerhard Richter, not Leon Golub and Jenny Saville. Richter's hop-scotching around the worlds of paint is intended (partially and perhaps) to demonstrate the medium's versatility and he seems to do okay.

The notion of starting something and seeing it through for years or decades has maintained a contradictory place in my practice. When I was in first year of undergrad David MacWilliam came and gave a visiting artist lecture (my first ever) and at the time the dude had been focusing almost exclusively pyramidal and cornucopic shapes. Those early assertions backed up by droning legion of art history slides said "Stick with one thing". My third year painting prof (you know who you are G.P.) gave me the lowest mark in the class (the legally blind woman topped us all) because he thought I wasn't taking the class seriously, jumping around as I was.

My constants have been social themes, not visual cues and while I've made these decisions with eyes open and far apart, I still harbour concerns. But when it comes to themes I feel like I'm hell-bent to stick in the ghetto of fraternity, the aesthetics of violence and utopic desires. In that sense, I'm very much aligned with Golub and (at least the aesthetics of violence) Saville. So let's just call this post therapeutic hand-wringing and end with a few studio shots and mockups of works complete, nearly complete, potentially so and clearly not. You can decide what falls into what.
* * *

Oh shit, here's the other main thing: If you're trying to operate as a "contemporary painter" there's little escaping the dual streams of inquiry. Object and Subject. This is old news perhaps, but my subject (militaria) means that I'm essentially ghettoizing myself,  investigating and committed to a less than widely accepted field of interest. At the same time "contemporary" still means acknowledging the limits/strengths of paint as a medium (Ya know, the Object). And that hobbling/emancipation at the hands of critics and historians is why the project is visually eclectic. Sometimes there's little point in using paint, sometimes painting is too subjective, and sometimes there nothing that could possibly serve the goal at hand other than painting. Again, you can decide what's what.

No comments:

Post a Comment