writing

on the Wall Paintings, 2018

The middle-class, midwestern suburb, in which I spent my formative years offered little more than a pedestrian environment, that which I now appreciate from afar. From here, I spend time investigating everyday conditions and the super-normal. That time spent has led me near the traditions of Minimalism, only to find that my relationship to it is complicated by apologies– a tradition of my gender. I’ve felt the need to prepare a defense for every formal move, and work twice as hard to produce a formally uncomplicated piece.

We are surrounded by frames of wood or metal and screws covered by drywall and joint compound or plaster. These materials separate us from neighbors and strangers alike and make us feel safe, alone, confined, even free in ownership of the space they define. Meanwhile, that surface, so common and distinctively generic, a wall offers an opportunity to express our character or an idea, or a mood in color. There is a white, a blue, a yellow, a beige for every demographic. No matter the fact that it is the illusion of choice, marginal variations in hue, shade, opacity, sheen, and so on designate a clever title- a sentiment to match the consumer.

These paintings are a product of my thinking about places I’ve lived or rooms I’ve spent a lot of time in, and the aberrations on their walls which characterized them. I’ve stared at these marks so much they became as familiar as their address or my own reflection. In my memory they are symbols for how I felt while inhabiting these spaces. Like a smell, or a song, or anything so specifically sensuous it can transport you. There should be a word for that spot on the wall. The focal point for introspection and meditative states-- an injury inflicted or consequence of poor craftsmanship which one becomes a patron to. I believe this activity of staring at the wall is a near universal experience; and I’d like my paintings to conjure in their audience a sense of familiarity and connectedness.

I tend to work serially. I am drawn to parameters to begin and execute one body of work, and let them evolve into the next system. These fabricated artifacts consist of marks which are simultaneously recognizable and unowned. They could exist in any room, at any time, but speak as though they belong to someone. I set out to make paintings that function as photographs do, evoking the recollection of some memory one may not know they possessed. One may wonder what from the present the will keep; what will be a future memory? I strongly believe in my work as a means for communication and networking one human experience or truth with others. There I am motivated to continue exploring and interpreting my surroundings, and allow what truths I find to manifest as objects or ideas which are shared.

 


on Commercial Paint Color Names as Subject Matter, 2014

I was once led to consider the etymology of the word ‘painter.’ The workman and the artist cover surfaces with paint, but the counter forums which exist in this ancient action, painting, an archetype of art, have become more than utilitarian versus a form of expression. The post­internet circumstance is not just an interim in art history. It is a pandemic reaching every facet of our lives, and here lies a third, new category. Thanks to countless blogs and social sites like Pinterest, the internet has fostered an explosion of the DIY, ‘anyone can be an artist’ mentality. The products invented for consumers to carry out the construction of a semi­permanent environment are exposed to a typical marketing scheme in which various social demographics are targeted and captured. In this commercialized context, color has become an instrument for the simulation of a desired nicety, whether it be an object, idea or sentiment the consumer wishes to associate with. In that process, companies like BEHR, Valspar and Sherwin­Williams have participated in the commodification of color. I wish to exploit their efforts and explore them from the artist’s perspective. Rather than Phthalo, or Cadmium, I can choose a color called Lipstick, or Cactus Shadow. Doing so, I devised a system that appropriates these products, implementing them as cognitive readymades. Investigating the relationship between language and image, as those conceptualists before me, leads to questioning a thing’s actual identity. Each configuration relies on the implication of the verbiage, provided by the name of the paint colors. The stand­in shapes I assign for a color and its title are the result of a shallow Google image search, an act of participating in the empowerment of the internet, as the search engine has become our kind’s own oracle. These parameters highlight the importance of various modes of representation, while challenging the necessity of certain formal elements. Simple shapes are symbols, in conjunction with colors that trigger psychological effects, and words that are meant to provide familiarity and thus camaraderie. Using artifacts to present abstract ephemera, ​the work contains content directly related to the study of consumer culture and acknowledges the mutable reality that modernity has bestowed upon us.