November 4, 2011

Sour times produce a sour art?  You’d think that sour times would produce escapism, and you could still call this escapism vs. doing socially engaged documentary photography, but my ever-unfolding stomach problems and unexplained hypoglycemia and heartburn and weight loss have left me sour lately so I have, for you, something I call a Dirty Ghost Slug.  So the title is more entertaining than the image, if entertainment is what you get when you look at art you like.  Or maybe substitute interesting for entertaining.

But: I’ve also started to get nervous, lately, that the abstract work I’m making, especially when seen at small scale, looks pretty, or could, and that prettiness might smother anything rigorously conceptual or procedural about the work.  Maybe or maybe not.  Things have started to feel a little candycane to me lately though, a little too tasteful, so take what you have below and try to imagine it at 4×5 feet minimum.  The idea here is not necessarily to be confrontational but rather to use the rules I have and the tools I know to make the work less easily absorbed.  The reasoning behind this was both feeling sour re: my stomach and a memory I have of seeing a huge Motherwell Elegy at LACMA ten years ago: it was so enormous and ungainly you couldn’t really call it pretty or ugly because it was so massively overwhelmingly big.

My memory is probably exaggerating the size of it but, coming around a corner and swiveling from looking at a small work of Wonderbread packaging pressed between glass it was just sort of there, and the closer you got to it the less you could even experience with your eyes than you experienced it with your body, your physical movement re: the piece being part of the art.  Abstract Expressionism as performance instruction?  Maybe.  And photos can only get so big but that’s partly why the prints of these would be as big as I could go: I’d want viewers not to look at them but to encounter them.   That’s a slightly different aim than what I had with earlier work, which was partly formed by practicalities and partly out of just trying to play catch-up to produce what would pass as a respectable art object, which I think was a thornbush I wandered into that led me nowhere 2004-2009 except for the Fake Iraq stuff.


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