March 25, 2009

I have decided that I am addicted to the act of painting or the telling of stories.

All are still untitled, because the titling department is behind schedule.

I am compelled to paint. Once I get started I do not want to stop. Sometimes I think about the stories of the Arabian nights and feel that maybe I just keep painting in order to stave off the inevitable.

Having freshly painted the studio wall, I pulled out my laser level and hung my little 7" x 5" paintings at eye-level in a straight line. (As opposed to the pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey approach I use when I'm actively painting.) I then pulled out my tripod and shot them. I bagged on properly lighting them. I am so half-ass sometimes.

Freshly painted wall. For an exhibition, I will double the space between the paintings. The one on top is there because a screw was already in the wall.

I have completed 9 of them and am still working. Seeing them hang in a nice orderly row, I began thinking about them like chapters in a book, and then like Tarot cards. The surface contains the superficial information made up of paint, but there's bound to be more to it than that. I want to think these paintings are coded bits of information waiting to be deciphered. Why yes, I am into mysticism lately. That, and I'm a tad depressed. I know- I should be blathering all happy crap in a public forum, but I've hit a slight malaise, hence the Tarot card analogy/reading of the work.

My smudgy edges are important.

On the bright side, I am fascinated by my smudgy edges. I do not tape my edges. I taped them for maybe a year- when I first moved to Los Angeles, because everyone else was taping their edges and I wanted to fit in. I stopped because it felt dumb and because even with taped edges I managed to have drips and stains seep underneath the tape. After which, I found myself trying to repaint the edges without screwing up the surface of the painting. Some stains would not go away, so it got to the point where I was practically caking paint on the sides just to hide some drips or smudges. (Okay, there's really only one painting that is actual proof of this atrocity, but still.) DUMB. Prior to moving to LA, I had never seen artists tape the sides of the canvases, nor had I seen pristine edges hanging in galleries. A couple of galleries out here had the gall to mandate clean edges before showing work. It's a deal-breaker for me, not because I'm stubborn, but mainly because the phrase, "That's an accident waiting to happen," flashes across my mind. And yes, I consider my edges important to my work. Frame them afterward if you want, but do not involve me.

But back to my quandary. I need to step into the studio wearing nice clothes (so as not to be tempted to paint) and sit down to write about the work and title the paintings. I'm backed up in the title department. Not sure how everyone else does this, but I don't have a title log sitting around. Not to say I don't write great titles down when they occur to me, but my factory mentality stops short of cranking out titles and matching them up with future paintings. So having 10-15 or more untitled paintings in the studio is like having a pile of unpaid bills or dirty laundry- it's beginning to get overwhelming. I believe I've touched on my title procrastination before. Perhaps the titling department needs a raise. I imagine it to be a very small and cramped room with just a dictionary and some dusty books and album covers and one of those government-issued, industrial metal desks in a corner. Yes, the titling department needs some perks.


Carla said...

I think these smaller pieces really clarify just how courageous are your choices. You really push past the known paths and then deal with it.

I get this from your larger work too, but it's so clear in these small ones.

Karen Jacobs said...

Very big little paintings! Just catching up on blog reading, hadn't realized the recent trauma rumbling through your life... nothing like a deadline to get you focused.

Steven LaRose said...

I propose that our first two person show with Kristi be titled "The Tales of Scheherazade"

M.A.H. said...

Thanks Carla and Karen.

Steven, I think I've toyed with some variation of that title in a previous life! I've been trying to get KE over to the studio to see this work. I propose we hijack the gallery and co-curate a group show during the summer. I would also like to find an out-of-town gallery for these too. The advantage of these babies is they ship real easily!

Keiko said...

I stayed out of FB and blogsphere for several weeks and you have gone through a life's worth of tragedy...

Your small paintings are intriguing. Very intense and eludes my habitual desire to comprehend where the author is coming from.

Edges are problematic. I like neither dirty nor clean. I envy encaustic painters whose edges are usually layers of wax delectable like icing.

Do you have spring where you are?

M.A.H. said...

Hey Keiko, you were missed!
These small works are eluding me as well. or rather, I don't want to analyze them all at once. Edges are funny things. After stretching some linen, I'm sure i'll be re-addressing my relationship to the them.

It is spring here.