June 04, 2011

Picture Theory: I'm also a sucker for the mundane.

Changeling (Shake-a-Pudding)
oil on linen/wood panel

We, not the royal 'we,' but the nuclear family, 'we,' had a plant that was over 100 years old. It was once in a conservatory at my grandmother's house. When NaNa came to live with us, the plant came too. At the time I recall my mom saying the plant was about 75 years old. It sat around in a large pot looking awkward and ancient. It was about 5 feet tall and spindly. Toward the end of my mother's life she neglected to water it. At one point she had been the president of her garden club. The plant always looked on the verge of death, but it usually pulled through. Finally though, it died. I was sad. For the plant, but also because my mother had let it die. Somehow she managed to save a clipping from it. A bail-out option I suppose. It sat in the Shake-a-Pudding cup for the last few years. No soil, just water. I finally repotted it. It's a nightblooming cereus. Supposedly it blooms once a year. I will care for it.


I once again stumbled upon this link- 1000 painters.  And once again, became overwhelmed at the copious amounts of fantastical painterly abstraction being produced today. And then thanks to my RSS feed, I came across a passage, well actually the whole post, from Henri Art Mag  that resonated with me as I continue to question my own motives more than occasionally. 

After 2 years of working small, unleashing my inner giant on large canvases felt right, though I went too far with the first one, so I backed it down and let gut instinct and inner apathy take over. I don't mean this to sound as negative and dysfunctional as it sounds. Nor when I refer to them as a Abject Abstractions am I trying to be clever and coin a sub-genre of Slacker Abstraction. It's merely a representation of how things were progressing and abject came to mind as being apropos. Indicative Abstraction might also be a useful term. Perhaps I am coining terms. 

In a recent review over at Temporary Art Review, the writer, Sarrita Hunn, makes some insightful connections to Vitamin P as a source for this type of abstract painting-which if you're an abstract painter with an internet connection it seems almost viral- and goes on to ask, "But then one must ask: Is ‘newness’ an inherently desirable trait?" She goes on to quote Barry Schwabsky for some possible answers.

Which leads me, or takes me back to the post at Henri Art Mag in which Mark Stone discusses what he's missing or not missing: "...the thing is not like the others. It may not be exemplary in the sense of the unique, it may not be “One of a Kind”, but it will be dissimilar, unfamiliar maybe. And for the moment I want to see and experience what isn’t if that makes any sense to any of you."

It does make sense which is why I keep struggling to mediate my imaginary battle with painting. New vs. Old. Old vs. New. Picture vs. Theory.

I'm still mulling over titles for these. All are 2011 and are of the 54" x 43" scale. 
Working titles include:
Card Game
and something having to do with a floating spirits or presence. Maybe that it's-
The Presences

Oh and a little self-promo- The Art in the Embassy Program catalog is online now as is the archive of the exhibition.  

And yes, the rumors are true, The Thack is back for a rare showing of 15 miniature paintings at the June 4th art crawl, Cummins Station, 6-9pm. And a few pieces by me as well. I hung it today and went back tonight to do lighting and sweep. Found some silver spray paint in an totally unrelated sentence and started a new painting. It's so past my bedtime. 

4.4.11 UPDATE : Oh wow. The subconscious rises. The painting in the Art in the Embassy exhibition was actually the first pool painting. I completely forgot about that. Fascinating. I should look through the archives to see what else was happening back then. No. Maybe not. It's easier than re-reading journals, but only because I think I'm the only one who knows what they say. Good times or not, it's still a document and conjures up the past. Maybe that's why painting persists. Enigmatic code embedded in a bunch of brushstrokes. No wonder many collectors don't want to know anything about the artist or what a painting means. No wonder painting sometimes strives to be meaningless.

"Swim," 2006. Mixed media on canvas. 


Steven LaRose said...

Not going to spout titles but I certainly get a passing through, or boarder crossing feel. Bridge seems right then. I also get a sense of hearty and decaying nostalgia. Hearty like some old tourist trap that still draws them in, even though everyone knows that it is simply a concrete and sterile place to gas up and get some peanut brittle. . . and yet WE'VE GOT TO STOP THERE. So maybe it is a travel-vibe, or visiting relatives for some forced holiday, held together by a tradition, somehow sweet and fragile and yet carved in stone.

Elaine Mari said...

Maybe I'm stating the obvious, but those first two abstract pieces relate very much to the "Changeling" at the top. And feel like Presences. It's a feeling not a compositional or otherwise analysis. I relate to everything viscerally and feel the need to apologize for that given the striving to be meaningless thing. Maybe in time I will achieve a level of cool, but am running out of time...

They are wonderful, all of them, love those first two abstractions particularly.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

SGL, that was lovely writing. If there's a catalog or solo of these in my future, I'm going to hit you up for that paragraph. I don't mean to get all freaky, but if I haven't posted about my obsession with Stuckey's as a child and my theory of the gift shop & souvenirs being an introduction to collecting, it's scary what you picked up on. Is my subconscious that transparent? wow.

Elaine, yes, it seemed a bit more obvious when I arrived at the titles, but I still wonder whether people will accept the visual jump to the objects and maybe that's okay. Changeling is the most recent. I'm getting ready to tackle a large one. back and forth, back and forth.

Elaine Mari said...

Yes, I understand the back and forth, back and forth. It is disconcerting for me that I have been in that space for a while now. But, it is starting to feel like a bit more forth than back right now, knock on wood. Why does it take so long for things to come together and when they do, you are already on to something else?

As for people accepting the jump, as my mom used to say, "what odds about them". I think I'll post that on my studio wall.

BTW, I find it apropos that every time I make a comment on a blog I have to choose an identity, it's good to keep in practice.

Carla said...

These painting discussions which are circling around the edges of online art chatter, they are really helping me clarify what's important.

These new paintings are great - and I did not know about the embassy show. Very nice.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Yeah, me too. Plus, I've been prompted to think about why I need to have a cover story for the M. Thack works instead of claiming them as my own. I'm reserving the last two large canvases for some risk-taking.

Elaine Mari said...

Ooh. Excellent. Can't wait, because I would not describe your present output as safe so it will be great to see more.