Whew. Just took down my show at New Day Meadery today, and what a show it was. In addition to picking up a fiancée from the deal, I sold eight (can I count? I think not) pieces at the show, with another two pending. So, I dedicate this brief post to the faithful works that have found themselves better, more different homes to live in now. If you’re reading this and recognize yourself as one of the happy owners I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting, drop me a line. I love meeting the people who collect my stuff. They’re easier to market to ;) But seriously, I’d like to tell you thanks myself for your purchase. Hit me up.
Continuing my lead-up to Life In Flux: A Retrospective I’ve gone ahead and added a new gallery to the site today with the second This Is Not A Painting piece: The Exegesis of Things Best Not Said In Polite Company. Check it and the first piece out here, where you’ll also find a copy of the explanation for the series. It’s basically my favorite idea ever.
So, now that I’m done with vacations, and attending a wedding, I finally have a moment to breathe and can officially announce that I will be doing a show for New Day Meadery‘s First Friday event next month, November 2013! I’m pretty excited to be doing this one, what that it’s the first show I’ll be doing since turning that dreaded 30 years old. So, I’m taking this opportunity to do a bit of a retrospective, and a lot of the pieces I’ll have on display in a few weeks won’t have been shown to the public for many years now. It’ll be the most extensive show of my paintings I’ll have ever done, including Oranje, and you should be able to see 30 different pieces spanning the history of my time working in oil paint. Wowza.
And if that wasn’t enough, I have a special new piece I will be unveiling the night of the opening only. So super-secret that no one knows what it looks like, just that I’ve done it on an old window rescued from a historic downtown building when they were being replaced.
The salient details are that it’ll be at New Day Meadery (1102 Prospect St, Indianapolis, IN) all of November, with the big opening to-do event on First Friday November 1st from 6-9pm. I’ll of course be there to talk about the work and nonsense in general, or to just hang around and have a cider with. I want to thank Tia for making this event happen, and I hope to see all of you come out for it. More to come the next couple weeks as I finish preparing for it.
Around 1928 René Magritte painted a piece titled La trahison des images (The Treachery of Images), a famous picture of a pipe with an inscription in French: Ceci n’est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe). His point was a good one, possibly one on of the best ever made by a visual artist, and spoke to a common perception fallacy we engage in. A pipe is a real thing, an item with a certain character, size, and dimensionality. It is tangible. Magritte’s picture of the pipe was not a pipe, it was a picture. The fallacy is in our desire to label representations of things we recognize as if they were the things themselves.
And that was almost a century ago at this point. Since the introduction of color printing, the saturation of photography, and the invention and rise of the internet we have become even more exposed to mere representations of items. Pictures in books and magazines have long been substitutes for seeing the actual thing, be it an item, animal, or exotic place. And the prevalence of digital photography and ease of distribution via the internet has only accelerated that. If you want to see something, almost anything in the world, you can. Instantly. At least, that is, you can see an image of the thing. It is now the case that most things we will ever see in our lives are not the thing themselves, but rather the image of the thing. A flattened picture of it.
The art world does not escape this. It is impossible for an individual to see in person every piece of art that they can see in books and online. Many people will never fully understand the difference it makes to see an oil painting in person. Because paint is a different visual experience than a photograph, it has texture, and depth, and it can have layers built through the use of glazes and varnishes that provide a different experience in an environment where you can move and examine them from different perspectives.
But, by and large, we won’t encounter these actual items. We won’t hold the pipe. What we will see are the images. The pictures. The representations of the real item. And that means a handful of lucky few will have a completely different experience of any given work than the majority will, because they will have seen the thing and not merely the image. And, that’s not fair, is it?
In this series I seek to resolve the conflict that Magritte first brought up, and that the digital age has exacerbated. The image is not the thing. Unless, of course, you make it the thing. If the representation of the painting was not just a representation, but the piece itself. In this series, the painting is almost inconsequential as an object. it exists for the purpose of getting the photograph, and then it is no longer needed. To reduce confusion about this, the painting is even destroyed. Leaving only the image behind to examine, to show, and to share. Excepting for variances such as brightness, and monitor calibration, everyone gets what approximates the same image. It’s the same perspective. The texture has been flattened from only one vantage, and everyone examining it minutely will see the same details. The photograph is the piece, and the piece is not a painting.
Because, in this digital age, the painting was unnecessary anyway. It’s the image of it that matters. And in this case, the image is all there is left.
This first entry is called Aglets, and The Smell of Earth After Rain, and was shot at the abode of the lovely Nicholas and Moxie Henry. A video of the prop used to create this image being destroyed will be posted once I get a chance to cut it. Because, really, who doesn’t like seeing things get reduced to itty-bitty pieces? Boring people, that’s who. Besides, I want everyone to know I’m putting things on the line here. The photograph is the work of art, and I have not kept the painting somewhere. That would imply that there was value separate from the photograph remaining still in the painting. Seeing it destroyed is my way of proving to you that there is not. And, since most of you will have never seen any of my paintings in person, you’ll never know the difference anyway.
After way, way, waaaaaaaay too long I’ve finally sucked it up and shelled out for some shoot-through umbrellas so I can take pictures of my work without borrowing gear (something made infinitely more complicated since I switched to the bike as a primary vehicle.) As a result, in addition to fourupdatedoilpaintings I have finally created a new gallery for my “Scenes From Antropolis” work. The first two, “Up!” and “The Steel Tumbler” are up now, and look sorta like this:
The third in the series is on my easel now, and I have a fourth priming. Keep your eyes peeled here for more madcap nonsense from my beloved Antropolis.
In case you missed it on Twitter (what? You don’t already loyally follow my inane ramblings?), I got a new easel this weekend. It’s aluminum, and it wouldn’t have been worth the $100 Michael’s wanted except for their awesome 40% off coupon. That made it a worthwhile impulse buy, I feel.
And now it’s had its inaugural painting session. There’s paint on the metal now, and that means it’s real. Much like my return to the land of applying oil and pigment to pieces of board and canvas.
I’ve added four new paintings to the site: Grump #1, Face #1, Albert Speer, and Memories From My Life As A Bird #1. All of which will be showing at Holiday Rawk next Thursday, if you’d like to get up close and personal. Especially Albert Speer, since the dozens of layers of stand-oil glazing make it a very different piece to see in person than in photograph.