October 07, 2011

Studio Stuff, Prep work, etc.

[31 34 paintings. Not pictured: 15+ works on paper, 6 large abstract paintings, 1 large representational painting, a few mid-size paintings and all of the alter-ego's work. I haven't done the exact count but I'm in the neighborhood of 60 or 70 works completed in the last year.] It doesn't really look like a lot, but numbers don't lie.

I have like 48 hours to pin down a show title that I won't regret. I'm usually pretty good with show titles, but I'm tired, I have a headache, and my glasses make my eyes and neck hurt. I'm shooting all of the work tomorrow, then it's onto mailing list, titles, checklist, framing, plus I need to tweak a couple of pieces. I hang the work in 2 weeks and have another two weeks to edit down the show to kick ass and exceptional. Oh, and the statement for some comprehensible press release is due on Monday. People on southern time are a bit more loose. I'm better with advance deadlines. 

When I told a friend about my upcoming show, they said, "fun." My idea of fun is being comatose on a beach in a lounge chair on a hot day with warm saltwater lapping up beside me. I think 1986 was the last time I experienced that.

I love what I do. I love being in the studio, It's challenging, physically and intellectually. I'm cool with getting messy. Lately, the dog hair and lint annoy me and I find myself making a concerted effort to cap my paints. Mixing paint is fun, but after that, I think being a painter person and trying to make a living holding down a couple of other jobs is challenging work, especially on your own. The carrot at the end of the stick is subconsciously that beach scene. To be exact, my beach scene takes place at The Pier House in Key West, Florida. Someone took me there a long time ago, circa 1986. It was actually the worst vacation of my life for other reasons, but I'll never forget that day in the lounge chair. I want that again. Screw therapy. I just want three days in a lounge chair at the edge of the ocean.

Like  I said, I'm usually good with titles. It may be time to scrap my usual cadence for something more direct.
Let's backtrack:

1992 Chromosome Paintings and Small Collages  (My pre grad school feminist paintings)
1995 Songs About My Mother   (My thesis show of quirky video work supported by fem psych theory and a Maysles Brothers-like doc that bombed with my thesis panel.)
2002 Series 100 + Spare Parts   (I'm in LA and back to painting- The show was an index of watercolor cutouts that would later be seen as the vocabulary for my abstract painting.)
2003 New Roles For Spare Parts (took the index and gave it a narrative. introduced narrative abstraction.)
2004 Klusje Van Niks (Rotterdam. I was totally overcome by Dutch design and architecture.)
2005 Scramble: A Series of Unruly Paintings and Drawings (Back in LA and showing the architecture and Dutch influenced work. still abstract. still chaos and order.)
2006 The Tornado Face Drawings ( I went on a manic tear and fervently made 33 Tornado Face Drawings. I rearranged the whole studio and bought some bargain-bin-castoffs from IKEA to accommodate this. Factory worker mode.)
2008 I Forget Now What All This is About (After reading Modern Painters, I fell in love with Ruskin's writing and reinterpreted his take on landscape and painting for my own diabolical purposes. The title was from a footnote of his.)
2010 Fluid: Elusive Chapters From the Passage of Time (Also known as the Pool and Flower Paintings and The Lost Months. Small paintings the size of paperbacks that were about losing my mom and watching my marriage dissolve all within the manageable distance of 3000 miles. Introduced representational work and fixation on singular image.)

And here we are now. A year later in Nashville I've been waking up every day to NPR and stories about the economy, revolution, natural disasters, more death and destruction, selfish, evil people, and watching the newscasters report about the locally depraved before bedtime. I cycle through my daily routine and try to achieve some balance as I go through stuff from my parent's estate all while maintaining a studio and teaching. I'm still interested in abstraction, but my approach is becoming more aloof. Abstraction is slow now. Like molasses. I need to capture things, document them as they cross my mind or before I forget. Sometimes I feel like a channel. I wonder what I'm going to paint next and become anxious. What if I've covered everything there is to paint? What then? It hasn't happened yet. I usually find something the next day, but still, it's a concern. When I was in Indiana I was talking with Carla about this need to paint things as some kind of evidence of my existence. I think I said something like that, only as soon as I said it, I thought it sounded like a Twilight Zone epilogue, so I told her not to tell anyone and immediately forgot what I said.

Here's the brainstorming list so far, feel free to comment.

I Don't Know What I'm Waiting For, But It's Not You, and Other Frustrating Narratives
Shape Shifters
Moral Turpentine
An Act of Moral Turpentine
Mondrian is My Visual Safe Word
and going back to a fictional note in Camus' The Plague, "Come in, I've Hanged Myself."
and finally,
Come In, I've Hanged Myself, and Other Acts of Moral Turpentine

The Camus reference has been on the backburner for a few years. It seems pitch perfect for a painting show, but my world of references lend themselves toward narrowcasting.

Ok, so that's not a lot of brain storming. I'll add more over the weekend.


Elaine Mari, Painter and Drawer said...

How about "I don't know what I'm waiting for due to moral turpentine. Mondrian is my visual safe word. Come in I've hanged myself"? Is that to long?

Elaine Mari, Painter and Drawer said...

btw your attempt and not being funny are not succeeding.

Your list, reminds me of my life.

Elaine Mari, Painter and Drawer said...

^^should be "too"

Mary Addison Hackett said...

I know. I'm possibly overcompensating for living in the sad factory. The work itself is not funny haha, but more like funny awkward or funny uncomfortable. I want the tone of the title to keep the work from being seen as an existentialist downer.

I really liked one of your paintings and was too slow to act. The night one. Kept meaning to send you a note. Congrats.

Elaine Mari, Painter and Drawer said...

That painting went to another artist whose work I admire a lot. It makes me happy that you like it.

I can see the not funny ha ha, and see the funny awkward in the face of sad, it feels right, and true and not an existential downer, just dealing and moving along, getting it done, or something like that.

Tibi said...

I like "An act of moral turpentine". Though, I see that your work is often serial, so it might be interesting to put "serial" or "sequential" somewhere there. Maybe "Serial Acts of Moral Turpentine"?

Mary Addison Hackett said...

^ I like that too.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Random acts of moral turpentine.

I'll keep thinking...