Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Material, Part 1: Assemblage

Scape 6


I have begun to question paint, as a material it seems so antiquated, too loaded a surface, too much precedent. Even the idea of a painting seems old fashioned, although i completely believe it is possible to make something contemporary/fresh with this material, there are very few example I am aware of. It's discouraging to say the least, defeat before the piece has even begun. I feel like the record companies in the late 90's trying to sew half the american youth over illegal downloading when their cd sales are down, living in the glory days of art.

I overheard someone yesterday say that sensual is the new edge in architecture. Humorous since I dropped architecture because the hand is no longer present. Don't know if I'm one step ahead, or a hundred steps behind but not quite retro.

Anyway, this shift has influenced my perspective on how I use paint, more so in the vein of an assemblage of scraps of paint than the application of it. I think one has to be very careful in choosing ones material, aware of associations. I started painting on raw canvas to make a link between the texture, grain, color of the canvas itself, and the skin of the body. However, this leaves the problem, what is the paint? I means of accentuating the canvas, a matt surface to make the texture more apparent? perhaps this is somewhat optimistic. A friend said, once you remove everything that is kitsch from a piece, what remains is what you are truly looking for. I worry this means I have to remove paint, but in order to skirt this issue for the time being I am simply looking at the material paint as an added obstacle to play with, not to be painted, but smeared, glued, blown, and scraped. As it goes, artists find materials that respond to them, reveal the process, allow transparency. These pieces try (perhaps unsuccessfully) to remove that which is seductive, allow the paint to be paint, canvas to be canvas, and the hand to move between these properties leaving its trace along the way.