Saturday, August 10, 2013

re: preface

letter blocks say what

after hanging the show at TAF and schmoozing through the opening, i realized that i have not said much about the paintings that are in this show.  there are 35 different pieces surrounding the county fair installation and i am beginning a blog series discussing the parts, pieces, and intentions behind many of the works.

assemblage paintings

most are assemblages, some are single panels, none are traditional canvases or artboards.  i've been working with found objects and painted surfaces for about 5 years now.  i construct 2 1/2-dimensional wall hangings from found objects collected either from people's garbage, goodwill, antique shops, garage sales, or my own scraps, unfinished works, and broken and rejected pieces.  i then paint them with whatever kind of paint i have or can scavenge or afford.  then i add imagery using spray paint and a variety of the hundreds of stencils i've cut over the years and new ones i have yet to conceive.

i like the idea of using found objects as a canvas, mostly because i'm interested in the life of the item.  it's good to recycle, but that's not the reason i use found objects.  found objects have had a previous life.  i then transform that former life into something new, but the objects past existence is still evident even underneath all of my layers of paint and narrative.  nothing exists in a vacuum or on a white canvas.  everything exists in context and using objects as a storytelling surface, gives that layer of context to the narratives.

it is the same difference that exists between street art and 'murals.'  street art is 2D or 3D installation on the public scale.  murals are paintings on a public wall, often their only context is driven by the elements painted on the wall.  which makes for a huge difference.  street art seeks to incorporate its surroundings into the work.  the brick or siding of the wall, the shape of the wall, the windows or holes in the wall, and the neighborhood or specific location all are important contextual bases for a good work.  shitty public murals typically just prime a white space then cartoonize a community and a culture in an unoffensively offensive manner.  street art interacts with the public on a different level.  it forces questions of space and intention, beyond the narrative, which makes the space and the intention become part of the narrative.  and in that sense, dragging found objects from dumpsters and creating panels from things found in the street, is an effective way to bring that same street context into a gallery space.  it's different that just spray painting a canvas or panel.  i am reclaiming people's cast off furniture and lived-in items and rearranging them into a new narrative giving new life to something that was dead.  like the side of a rotting industrial complex that now houses a collage of images, graphics, and tags creating a living, breathing, ever changing work of art, specific to its location, right down to the brick in the wall it is painted on.

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