ARTIST  STATEMENT - SUGAR WON'T WORK (2014)

There is a certain kind of futility attached to the artist statement when you make work like mine. It suggests a level of intellectual authority or conceptual boundary on work that is in some ways disingenuous. In fact, my work method is procedurally messy, historically contingent and purposefully disorienting. The works in this exhibition are likewise in a critical (and at times highly problematic) dialogue with the historical conventions of abstract painting—a project that has preoccupied me for over a decade. And though it has been tempting (and in some ways inevitable) to read the work as a knowing critique of historical models of self-expression, it is my hope that my work appears slightly more puzzling and unexpected, and perhaps less fixed to any certain interpretative or critical position. As a result, while acknowledging the interpretive procedures at play in viewing painting, I have become increasingly comfortable with a more fluid and open-ended discourse around the work.

A viewer with some knowledge of my recent practice will note some rather shifts from previous exhibitions—perhaps most obvious being the use of craft glitter in large sections of the paintings. This material departure is an extension of my ongoing interest in creating a visually disorienting, even manic visual dynamic within the work. The application of glitter, which reflects light in unpredictable ways and provides a visual barrier to reading the paintings in a traditionally spatial manner, seemed to me an obvious next step in the work. Glitter also has the added benefit of functioning as a strong cultural signifier of low tech ornamentation, nostalgia and kitsch--in keeping with my use of faded supergraphics and over-crafted decorative gestures, and in direct tension with a variety of expressionist tropes which attempt to purposefully complicate any easy reading of the work. In previous exhibitions, I have employed the term “fever vision” (from Max Ernst in the early 1920s) to describe a kind of visual delirium and psychological slippage that can occur in front of certain kinds of art. Yet through the years, the central issue of my painting has remained intact: how does one make abstract paintings that appear knowing, without succumbing to easy cynicism; or visually enticing without collapsing into feigned sentiment or pastiche. This exhibition is my current answer.