July 29, 2006

Tom Moody


Many thanks to Tom Moody for the recent post regarding the fruit of the studio. I deeply appreciate this digital handshaking between blogged studios, notably Tom's and a host of others: Brent Hallard (thanks for the image post in May, Brent), Chris Ashley, Christopher Jagers, Steve LaRose and Harold ('cuz) Hollingsworth. Look for their links in the soup to the left.

Tom's commentary is close to the work. The reference to suggestion is good to read since literal rendering in our super mediated image flooded age is a flaming sword that keeps me away from the garden of representation. The reference to physics is something I consider to be a search for information rich material qualities, a kind of ballistics* of liquid stone arrested by a picture plane. I see an arc from Vietnam era cluster bombs to Gulf War precision bomb J-Dams that is the same arc from Pollock to Lasker. A "Less is More", information age arc. The big question now is the movement forward over our horizon.

I appreciate Tom's comment: "Close-up, the paintings have many details that confound your attempts to mentally reconstruct how or in what order the paint was applied." . I tend to think of the order of execution in terms of a kind of super fluidity, of how one action can be erased or amplified by the next; that each touch has good and not so good aspects; of how each action is an edit on the previous one and the whole painting is a chain of these edits; of the way it is like a card game, where each house is a strictly ordered system (hearts to clubs, ace to king) that is shuffled and re-ordered into a unique pattern that is relevant to the specific character and circumstances of the game at hand. Poker faces, bets, antes and bluffs.

The reference to thick and buttery is unavoidable and understandable since I see what I'm doing as one in affirmation of painting rather than the legacy of negation that preceded me (the anti-aesthetic, the subordination of paint to photography, to conceptualism of various guises, etc). So I wasn't surprised either to read Bill's terse dismissal. Winky-smart-linked-one liners is what killed ArtForum's chat room (what was the name?) and is what is now rendering PaintersNYC lifeless (Sorry PNYC! You're still in my bookmarks!).

Yea, it's all cake decoration, nothing to see here, time to move along now.

And commenter Robert Huffmann, what a guy! After pooping on the possibilities of longevity of the paint material, he goes on to levy market anxiety ("collectors sweeping them up"? what kind of mentality is that?) and finally, he casually drops a dismissal: "I cut and peel in a similar fashion all the time. It's simple enough with acrylics." Send me a jpeg, Robert. School me.



Though it's not that the discussion about technical matters is irrelevant. It is the implications that follow that interest me. For example: the issue of the compaction of paint as it dries and the tendency for surface features to become more pronounced as the paint dries ultimately forms an outer limit for the impasto thickness of the paint mass. Therefore thickness for it's own sake is not the objective and should be modulated down. Shape and shadow however, muy bien, tio.

The paint will dry over time from the exterior to the interior and they will dry completely, I've tested for this a while ago. What is interesting is that since much of the paint form comes from the natural repose of the material, a structural system in engaged, for example: the monads are a series of organic conic shapes crowded together on a hemisphere, as each tip cowlicks to a point. As the paint dries, the cones compact slightly into hardened self supporting forms. Awareness of limits is not a limitation but a doorway towards possibilities. Intimate knowledge of the performance characteristics of paint material is the grail, the levels get deeper and more subtle as I go. That's a big part of why I've been on this track for over ten years now.

Too much discussion of technique seems a bit carnal, doesn't it? Painter's porn. Well, let's slip down to the full Monty and get down and dirty, let's demystify thusly:

Oh yea, and as for the monads, here's a shot of the origami like pincers to pull the tips and here's a shot of the daubers just because.

*No offense to those who wince at military references. I lived that life, grew up in it, I've been to the ivory tower too and of course our artworld... most people in our culture-verse have a torqued idea of what the American military world is and is all about. If you do, please stay tuned, I hope to challenge your preconceptions.

Posted by Dennis at July 29, 2006 10:25 AM

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