Apr 9, 2014

The Annotated Artist's Statement (Kelly's Real Deals)

I want to create images that populate the gap between the seen and the unseen. 

*****You might think this sounds pretentious but in reality, it's true. I am actually trying to do make paintings that do this because I am trying to grasp at meaning to this existence. I have locked onto something (the painted surface) that I find completely enigmatic and I've got to know what the next image becomes. It's not that I think that it'll be some masterpiece, it's more like excavating. Less pomp, more curiosity.

To do this, I create images that fluctuate between readings: potential horizon lines buckle and multiply, forms remain open and colors mimic then defy the known world in the same stroke. 

*****So what you're looking at seeks meaning in multiplicity. It's really ok and intended that it doesn't look like anything right off the bat. It's also perfectly ok to see certain things in it. If you look at it, see a certain kind of landscape, for instance, but then...the resemblance recedes....it's not really that landscape, but it is, but it isn't, etc. That fluctuation, the living between states of recognition- that is what I'm trying to communicate. Now, how that fluctuation makes you personally feel is, well, personal.

Too much text, here's an image:

Through these images, I am searching for a way of seeing that bypasses language in favor of a enlivened sense of discovery. 

*****Do you ever see something in the distance and you can't quite make out what it is...and it looks just, really exciting to you? That "what IS it?" excitement is a huge part of abstraction for me. Usually when I find out "what it is" by driving or approaching closer, it looses that magic quality that it first had. Also, when people talk about a "childlike sense of wonder" it speaks to the same idea. A young child may not even know the word for a certain object yet so they are seeing everything freshly, in terms of color and form only. I believe that kind of wonder is something to hold on to, so I'm trying to create a way to do so, even if just on a painted surface. 

I wanted to write this because I feel trapped by the artist's statement. In art school we were encouraged to write a certain way, a way that is very academic, duh. I don't have a problem with this kind of writing because of what it is, but I have always felt compelled to annotate everything in a more conversational manner but was shot down. Writing in an academic way when you are striving for something that is, let's face it, far-out-as-shit compared to everyday endeavors ( I don't know, like gardening, cooking, crafting, fixing a car, building anything, anything with a known and functional result/set of parameters) can be a total turn-off. 

In showing something you consider art, instead of an impenetrable wall of text, you kind of need a wading pool into that world, and not because people are too stupid to get it but because it's just a totally different way of looking at objects. We come in off the street and we don't know how to make that transition. I say WE on purpose. I have the same problem as anyone else with this. I'd really like it if artists and professors could acknowledge this, the art world would be better for it. I can't look at any work of art and immediately "get" it. That's just not the nature of the dang thing. That shit be subtle, yo!

Too much text. Here's an image:

Mar 19, 2014

winter's end

You have the freedom to make whatever you want to make. What will you make?

The problem with the freedom to do "whatever" is just that. There are NO bounds. The wilderness is wild, baby.

Winter is an uneasy time in the studio: there's no heat so I don't want to stretch new works and painting in gloves can get tiring by early March. I end up with a lot of time to muse on why I approach my images the way I do. Before the frost set in completely, or while I was still willing to brave it, I painted a couple sort of dead-pan realistic paintings: 3 small still-lives that are completely divergent from the rest of my work. I initially wrote this off to as siphoning the tedious, precious-making part of my painterly instincts off of the purer more intuitive approach I covet. Well, now I wonder.

My work has been about play- but maybe, just maybe, thinking this way has limited me. Isn't what I seek is much bigger than 'play'? I've always had a difficult time articulating the subtle meanings to my paintings beyond the obvious. Don't get me wrong, I know what they are...but finding the right words and communicating them in the .5 microseconds that the average human is capable of listening, well, proves difficult.

But here's a bit of it:

What seems like play, is actually an awareness of absurdity, an awareness of approaching madness, annihilation created by the exhausting sameness of modern existence. The sheer scale of modern existence creates anxiety; anything repeated so many times: whether a product, an action, a cultural phenomenon, serves to remind me of my smallness. There is no denying this smallness, so I must accept it.

So what is the result? My reaction? What image does painting take in the face of the behemoth?

Stubborn playfulness. It says, "you want me to have an easily digestible meaning, form or message: so I won't. I will celebrate the nonsensical right along with deep beauty" It says, "you will never stop primary experience, joy, wonder, or intuition. You will never stop my searching for meaning through images." I realize that this kind of thinking entails a MUCH more diverse approach to mark-making, forms, colors, everything- than I've fallen into. Perhaps a bit of styling has crept in....perhaps it's time to destroy to renew....time to be brutally honest with yourself....you could do more to make what you're after....offer something small and tender in the face of the behemoth....offer something sweet in the midst of the chaos....YES studio YES spring.