Material Academic

i

I’m moving away from material academic - following tradition and prescribed practice for how artist materials are used. It’s a less interesting to me when art is made without the element of invention: how a material is used or applied, how it is pushed to its limits, how happy accidents found in exploration lead to more masterful control.

ii

This morning I read about Anthony White, a Seattle artist getting attention for his use of plastic, specifically the plastic used in 3D printing. There’s something there about creating original substance out of the synthetic.

iii

I’m also attracted to the work of artists who are more involved in the creation of their materials, taking the element of invention all the way back to base materials. Artists who make their own gesso, their own inks, prepare their own substrates.

iv

Artists are never really satisfied. We are perpetually on the hunt in some way. I love when that shows up in how an artist treats tools and materials.

v

What if you forgot everything you had ever been taught about how to create art? I’m working on that. I’m no longer painting on canvas. My brushes are gathering dust. I’m repurposing two years of work in a new direction and shopping for art supplies at Home Depot, creating a style of composition of my own invention.

Approaching Zero

i

Reading about Cy Twombly over breakfast, about the places where he was a studio hermit, how he arranged his workspaces and than sat and just listened to his work, that he worked quickly as if he was racing against losing the vision, about that time he drew in the dark to avoid making anything obvious, relating to it all, especially the part about trying to record something new, something felt and not seen and becoming immersed in that other world where the worst thing is for someone to crash through all the structure with the shape and story that they see at first glance because as humans we can't resist making sense of a thing even when it isn't supposed to make sense in the context of what we already know.

ii

This is the chase. Pursing perfect abstraction but it is one of the math problems where you can approach the zero but never cleanly, explicitly, resolve to it. Layer on equations and create masks with assumptions and still, the bell hums but doesn’t ring. Pull away like a rubber band and the superficial snap brings it back. There is this constant tension between the imagined, fictional, abstract and the reality of perception.

iii

Save your energy and don’t think too much about it because that’s a zero sum game.