April 19, 2011

Not a Creative Post Title

It's funny. No actually it's not. Sometimes people assume when you're glum it's because you need new ideas or are uninspired in the studio. People rarely assume it's the opposite- that you have a lot of ideas and a lot of work, but that the lack of a venue or captive audience suddenly makes you question what's the point, and you realize it's like running a long-distance race without a finish line— and that buying materials to make paintings without a show lined up is either like putting money in the bank or burning cash in a bonfire. I began making small paintings a couple of years ago as a conceptual investigation on abstraction and scale, but it was also the result of a bit of self-betrayal. After a show that seemed to have a positive response, I was angry at the large work for going back to storage. I am prolific in the studio, so the thought of only producing enough work for a show and calling it quits until I have to make work for another show is incomprehensible to me. Scaling down seemed to be a way to satisfy the need to make work and to make peace with renting a 5' x 10' storage unit.

I convinced myself that small was the new big. I was engaged with the intimate scale, the tiny brushes, cradling the canvases as I painted, trying out super expensive paint brands, linen—all of it really, but something was missing.

I don't know how not to paint. I feel rather grateful that for the most part, I am easily sparked by ideas and able to get distracted indiscriminately by a 1" piece of lichen or a broken twig, household objects and decaying architecture, or technology and science fiction. I used to take being an artist for granted and on occasion have bought into the argument that art is a merely a luxury good, but lately when I listen to the news and all the insipid backwoods political crap going on in the world, I suddenly feel how important it is to make art, like maybe I'm doing something to offset evil and stupidity. I guess that's enough for today.

#1. This one is almost done, still eyeing a few places though. Yes, it' a diptych now. 

#2. This one is in progress. It's at the middlebeginning stage, I'm guessing. Things are forming and beginning to take hold.

#3. Freakishly accidental rainbow fro resulting from the first wash. 


Steven LaRose said...

Back in the day, I would have left #3 alone and called it a painting. People aren't ready for that, even today.

#2 makes me wonder if your back hurts from stooping and painting so low?


diptych's are the future
(if you believe in sequential art)

word veri cracked me up = "pharet"

Mary Addison Hackett said...

No, people are very ready for that. Simplicity sells. It's just not enough for me, becuase it's not my game. I really am unable to make something and leave it at this stage becuase I haven't invested any thought into the work. It means nothing to me so I don't see how it could mean anything to anyone else. By my MO is that I find meaning through the act of painting. I could put a blank piece of paper on the wall and if I stared at it long enough and thought about it long enough, I would call it finished. (i think tom friedman did that too.) So it not about the effort involved. but for me how much think time I spend with it.

I'd really like to leave them along say like, maybe at #2, but it's like directing a movie and I want them to be epic rather than shorts.

#1 yeah. it could go on forever. see above.

#2. I rotate them for better working angles.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

^ [sic]

Stephan P Ferreira said...

Thanks for posting! I don't have a very weighty exhibition history - but it is extensive...and sometime over the last few years I have just pulled back and decided to simply work. To try working without Ty king of showing. Hah...sometimes it has worked and sometimes it hasn't. There is something nice about knowing that maybe in the near future there might just possibly be a venue for what your making....and if it is a complete failure, no venue...

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Hi Stephan. Thanks for commenting!

lucy mink said...

I often work without a venue i mind, I figure i have to paint no matter what, it keeps me sane, i think it keeps you sane as well, balanced, in check with the gods so to speak. I started to just feel horrible when i wasn't painting back in the end of the breastfeeding days. every now and then a show comes my way and i figure life is long. I am working small though mostly because its more affordable, your big paintings are so great to see here Mary. I like how number 1 is , I am one for going on and on. Simplicity is not my thing to do but i like it when others do it really well.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Thanks Lucy-Painting does keep me sane. My general attitude has always been just show up and make the work. Usually something comes up, and rarely do I paint specifically for a show, but i think leaving one city and moving to another has triggered some sort of nomadic feeling, which who knows, may figure into the work, so maybe it's all good.

I'm still working on smaller works too. Sharon Butler recently said something in an interview that reminded me about the integrity of making your own rules and why scale was so important to me to begin with. Sometimes I forget things.

I notice I am irritable when I have to hold back because of practical stuff. time money, space.

I like simplicity done well in other people's work too.

Lucy mink said...

You of all people better keep painting no matter what, even through a tornado if you have to, be safe down there.