Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Appropriations, or, Collage v Painting

Early collage studies and the paintings they became. I appropriated and re-contextualized figures from some of my favorite Matisse paintings. They began as an attempt to reconcile my love of Modern painting with my post-Post-Modern life as a cubicle denizen. They are small art historical jokes but I like the absurdity of placing a nude in a cubicle and the heavy handed painterly sensibility contrasted with the minimalistic office.

I always connected paint with the human hand, the paint as evidence of work. Painting the collages was an act of not only unifying the pictoral space, but the act added my hand, evidence of my own labor, to the dialogue between figure and space. While collage allowed me to heighten the contrast, painting allowed for more subtlety and gave me more control over the narrative. The collages demonstrate a blatant decision to force unrelated images together, but painting, while being as purposeful, is less heavy handed.

With both approaches I am asking the viewer to consider why a naked man is in a bank of office cubicles, to consider the human occupying said space, while reserving the right to explore that question through different methods.

At The Office Study, Collage 9"x12"
At The Office. Oil on Panel 24”x36”
Interactive Study, Collage 9"x12"
Interactive, Oil on Panel 8"x12"

Graduate Work

And thus I join the blogosphere. Is that one word or two? Shows you what I know; I had to look up what a 'hash-tag' was and it took a couple of reads before I got it. At any rate it's about time I actually post something here, and as learning web design takes too damn long, I'll start by posting examples of work I did in Graduate School and my official Artist's statement, such as it is. Here goes.


After struggling though nearly a decade of an unstable and unpredictable commercial design job-market, I chose to shift my focus to primarily making art. Two economic recessions and being laid-off twice has narrowed my focus towards art about the workplace, labor and unemployment. I have recently painted objects associated with labor such as cubicles and time-clocks, and have built cubicle-like spaces, all of which have become proxies for my experience.
When making paintings and installations about the workplace, I try to keep a story I heard on NPR in mind, as it acts as a conceptual umbrella for everything I do. It was about two neighboring countries, one with an eye towards democratic elections and the other towards disrupting those elections. To accomplish this disruption the later group bused in rioters. The idea of people being organized to riot was what interested me, and the image of people boarding a bus with a riot as it’s destination was irresistible. This story evoked contradictory images, one funny and one disturbing. I thought of going on field trips as a kid, this time boarding a bus labeled ‘Riot’, which stopped midway to have a nice box-lunch, then continuing on to the riot, then to a museum maybe. An absurd image. But I also found the premeditation required to plan chaos to be disturbing. There existed a simultaneity emotion in the NPR story, and the gulf between those emotions is where I found myself. I want to elevate the mundane, create that gulf for the viewer,  and use the above story as a filter for my experience.