Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Work, It Grows

I have been trying to wrap my head around getting images and work ready for the biennial at the CMCA in Rockport, Me this week.  It is not easy to think about my work in this manner.  There seems to me a big line across which I do not usually step between the contemporary art world and the Street Influenced, Illustrative paintings that I produce.  That said, I know that there is work of that nature in major museums now.  It is very much what is contemporary, but somehow it doesn't really feel like fine art to me if I am producing it.  I have no idea why.  I am just as educated and equally as prolific as so many of the more heavy hitting "fine artists" in the world.  At least I very much think that I am.  I don't understand the hang up.  I can't even really blame the disconnect on a lack of references or allusions to philosophy or art theory.  I spend a good deal of time reading.  Sometimes it is theory and philosophy.  Often it is poetry or fiction, usually things that end up falling in the literature section.  I really haven't much interest in the Science Fiction and Westerns that I loved when I was a kid.  I can't help but think of the great Egon line from Ghostbusters 2 when I say that; "I had a slinky once, but I straightened it."  Absolutely no fun dude.  But actually I don't really feel that way.  I really enjoy the materials that I read.

I digress though.  The fact is, I wonder why I have difficulty seeing my work in a fine art setting and I really don't know why.  I have been trying to get over this feeling.  This series of paintings that I have started include  mixture of ideas from a bunch of different work that I've done in the past.  Oddly I feel like the juxtaposition of many of my ideas allows the work to maybe speak on one of those more intellectual levels.  I at least think that it begins to speak in the same language no matter how rudimentary the translation.

My studio assistant told me the colors in the second painting were very retro.  I wonder about that.  Perhaps the color then mixes with my interests more.  Certainly my reading interests do not constitute incredibly new knowledge or technologies.  She might be on to something.

More work to come soon.  I have one more in this series started and intend to do more tomorrow as well.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Back After a Quick Flash Across State Lines

I visited a friend in Seattle last week.  Well actually, I visited several friends in Seattle last week, but the trip was to see one friend in particular.  He owns over ten pieces of my artwork and when I found out that he had had a stroke I wanted to hand deliver him some new stuff very badly.  Three weeks later I was handing my friend two new pieces.  It was well worth the trip.  However, after a week off from studio and the prior week which had been entirely devoted to my show at the studio, it was finally time to go back to work today.

I am trying to put together work to submit to the CMCA in Rockland, ME for their biennial which is coming up soon.  I also very much want to have my work for my show in Bangor, ME done well before the actual hanging date as we will be very close to baby time in this household.  With a ton of things on my mind today, I felt like I just had to start a new piece.  Here is what I ended up with today.

I stayed with my friend Paul and his family in Seattle.  His son has several of my paintings in his bedroom, including one with a plug much like the plug in this bottom band of this painting.  That was the starting point for this piece.  More to come soon, but my wife has just set homemade chowder out on the table.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

What Does it Mean to Have a Show?

The show at The Studio in New Hampshire was a great success.  The work looked good, the gallery owner was happy, the people who came to see the show seemed pleased with the work.  By all rights I think that I have made some good work.  Finishing a show leaves me in one of two head spaces.  Either I feel like I worked my tail off, explored every avenue of that body of work that I could, and completely exhausted both the work and myself or I feel open, like I haven't begun to pick away at the top of the iceberg of an idea.  Currently I feel as though I am at the peak of an iceberg.  There is so much more that this idea and style of work could convey.  The show at the Studio was thereby a great start, and I am proud of the work, but as it settles in, I realize that I want to do the same sort of work in a much bigger venue.  Here are a couple images of the installation.

I was very pleased with how Tom's and my work interacted.  I was also quite pleased with the way that matted works and loose paper and index card pieces worked opposing with paintings on wood.  I feel as though the connections that I made were a definite start of something, and something good at that, but I am not sure in what light I should be looking at the work.  I want more.  Give me the cake.  I agree with Cedric.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Showing at the Studio Again

I am showing at The Studio again.  Melissa McCarthy has invited me back for the third straight year and I could not be more pleased.  The first year I build a large scale installation over the course of three days entitled "Love Me."  The second year I followed with "I Shall Not Want, A Wholly Irreverent Display," which was my take on the Last Supper.  This year I've added the powers of my friend, Tom Konieczko, to bring the world, "I Had to Walk Uphill To School, Both Ways."  The show primarily features drawings, lots of drawings to be precise.  I began working on index cards and library circulation cards several months ago as I was inspired by the work of my then roommate, Tom, and the honesty therein.  I gifted him the piece "Today May Just Be Everything You Need."  Essentially the piece was something that seemed to describe the feelings and emotions that I experienced while living with Tom.  He is incredibly genuine and deep.

The following is his Pecha Kucha on Automatic Doodling.

Tom Konieczko: Automatic Doodling from PechaKucha Portland on Vimeo.

This is what I really had in mind when I suggested to him that we do a show together with Melissa.  His desire to emote the complexities of fear in small digestible nuggets of truth is incredibly poetic.  I felt that his work was functioning the same way that my sketchbooks often do.  When people see my art they are seldom as excited as when they get to flip through my sketchbooks.  I am sure that there is a sort of voyeurism that makes this more appealing but on the other hand, there is a very real truth that the artwork has not been modified for public consumption yet.  It is one hundred percent mine.

As I started laying out my more personal artworks on index cards, a very disposable and readily available medium, I was taken by how easy it was to take the filter off.  I started to trust my mark making more and second guessed my process less.  The work became about something more experiential for me than about it being a finished product.

I then determined that I wanted to paint a bit more.  I have been missing the act of pushing paint in the frequency that I used to.  So while I was listening to a Shins song I determined one painting.  A second was born during a sketching session in the ICA a year ago and the last was taken from a conversation I had on a ferry.  I kept true to the style that I was working in on my index cards, however, working quickly and without edits.  I think the result is very different in feel than most of my other work.

My sketchbook work is getting turned inside out.  There is something that feels amazing about that process.  I am excited to see how the work looks up in Melissa's new space.  Come say hello to Tom and I on Friday night if you like.  The opening starts at 4 and we will both be there.