Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Few Install Shots of The Painting Center

I hung my show Refrigerator Paintings at The Painting Center in Chelsea yesterday.  It went better than expected.  Someone with a strange (read: bad) abstract spatial sense like me sometimes can really mess up visualizing a space and scale of things.  But I think I brought the right work and it hung well together.  This work plays much more with value and low saturation than some of my other work so the color didn't fight as much.

The show is all paintings with the subject of the refrigerator as a jumping off point (with a microwave and oven thrown in for good measure).  I don't know why I started with this subject but once I did I found it touches on so many of the things I like to challenge in my work.   


These are intimate spaces but they are also isolated and matter of fact.  They are like stages for still life, objects stacking and overlapping in fortuitous ways.  These are spaces where the sense of light is dramatic, especially in value.  They are spaces where the point of view can be surprising.  Compositionally there are deep spaces and occlusions of that space in the shape of a door or shelf.

In one piece, Fridge Closing, (I don't have a close up image of that one installed) I had painted an entire composition of food stacked to the ceiling, like it would  be before a party.  It was too crowded and flat and I didn't know what to do.  And then I thought, I'll zoom out and put the door on top of the stuff.  Knowing that it was all in there behind the door was pretty freaking satisfying.

Then I read this snippet from Guston interviews:  "...then I just covered it up with a brick wall.  It felt good.  So in my mind, everything's behind the brick wall."  He does everything first.  But I still felt good knowing I got there too.

The other thing that feels unexpectedly good about the show is how the space mimics the idea of a refrigerator.  The project space is very narrow and feels like you must enter into a compressed area.  That was the reason I felt the show needed a tight relationship in terms of subject.  But the space adds to that impression and my content I think.

The last thing I was able to do because I have control of the curation, is show my paper mache sculptures.  I have made these off and on since graduate school but I never show them and never intended to.  There is one wall in the space which has a door on it, and is hard to get any distance from, and I thought-- I don't want to put any paintings there.  Then in my studio one day making the sculptures for no obvious reason but enjoyment I thought, hmm, these sculptures might be just related enough and more playful, sort of like characters from the paintings.  I expanded on them and made one shelf Things I Crave, Pregnant and the other Things I Can't Have, Pregnant.  

These are the only things I think non-pregnant people want to know about pregnancy.  They want the middle of the night pickle peanut butter story which I don't have (and question its origin haha).  But food is definitely on the mind at nearly 9 months pregnant and for me pop tarts, banana cream pie and spaghetti are the top.  I also think pregnancy feels taboo as a painter.  It seems like some people expect you will stop painting (what?) and is a physical reminder of being a woman in a man's profession.  So I  wanted to put it out there loudly and continue to allow my work to touch on my life in whatever way that seems to crop up.


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