Sunday, June 9, 2013

it's a beautiful thing

So I found this interview with Sharon Butler who I have become a bit obsessed with ever since she wrote about the New Casualists back in 2011.  Butler is a painter herself and writes a blog that I follow quite religiously because it is just THAT good.

I came across an interview with Butler about a recent solo show at Pocket Utopia and I was just floored by Butler's comments.  I have a ton of favorite artists from all different areas but I have never come across someone that articulates my feelings about making so accurately. It's like meeting a stranger that loves all the music you love and the movies you watch and the books you's a rarity in life.

I lost my breath and thought "Fuck! yes! exactly!" during this moment of the interview:

TM: It’s intriguing to note the changes in my response the longer I looked at the show, from a sense of alienation over the work’s apparent arbitrariness to a sudden recognition of its intuitive sense. The perfect example of this is “Vent,” one of the smaller paintings in the exhibition, which features a horizontally striped trapezoid in the center of a raw canvas rectangle, which is stapled to the front of the stretcher bar support.
The curious thing about the piece is that, along with the edge of the stretcher at its uppermost border, we can also glimpse a portion of the stretcher’s store label, including the red logo of Utrecht Art Supplies and the bar code. However, what seemed like a willfully negligent act of “studied, passive-aggressive incompleteness,” as you put it in “The New Casualists,” suddenly seemed thoroughly worked out: the punctuation of red enlivens the gray, white and taupe surface just so, and the vertical barcode provides a subtle, stabilizing counterpoint to the trapezoid’s broad, horizontal stripes.

SB: To be honest, I’m a little apprehensive that some viewers will have your first reaction, as well as a sense of condescension or even indignation towards the seeming lack of skill and effort involved. As the Met points out in the excellent Matisse show that’s now up, making something look effortless isn’t always easy. But it’s worth trying to do well, if that’s not too much of a paradox. I guess what interests me are the metaphorical possibilities of lethargy, bad decisions, mistake-making, and turning things inside out as reflected in a painting. From these things, I reckon there is quite a bit to infer about not merely how we perceive the world but how we live in it.

The apprehension Butler speaks about is something I've been battling ever since I moved in this more "casual" direction.  I think though, that this is the feeling one gets when doing something completely honest.  There's nothing to hide behind.  The thing that really pounded my chest hard was when Butler related this way of working to how we perceive and live in the world.  I think I lived most of my life trying to be like other's, those that I admired in life, in order to be a better person. This was reflecting in my work as well.  I was making like all those that I admired...which is a good way to learn perhaps but you have to find your own way about things at some point. That way of living can get tiring and dishonest.  Once I said "fuck it" and threw out all the rules and the idea that a painting must be made in this certain manner I felt my life change. This way of making (and living), embracing all of the aspects of it (of life) especially the failure, the mistakes, the casualness, opened up my way of experiencing, thinking, feeling, seeing, interacting, all of it.  This also, I believe, is a rarity.  
During my recent opening at Raygun, I was overwhelmed with the openness to the work.  Most were curious, and had that same feeling that Thomas Micchelli spoke of with Butler;

"It’s intriguing to note the changes in my response the longer I looked at the show, from a sense of alienation over the work’s apparent arbitrariness to a sudden recognition of its intuitive sense."  

At one point in the night I was introduced to a local artist as there were quite a few there and upon asking him what he thought of the show he put his hand to his chest and spoke about how good the space felt.   

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