Artist Statement

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What is a painting? A painting is also a book, a baseball game, a piece of science or of a vision. In Balzac’s Wild Ass’s Skin, the titular magical object, granting its owner’s wishes and shortening his life proportionally, must be a painting. And a painting is subject to another paradox: it can be wide enough to include a world, or a life, only when it is bizarrely narrow; focused, that is, on painting, and thereby on the question, what is a painting?

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1. Painting-culture

It is better for the paintings and for us if the paintings make themselves, so I am the studio assistant for the paintings.  In doing this work, I have noticed a culture—a culture of the paintings, not of people—that can describe the paintings’ relationships to each other.  Since this culture is a painting-culture, it does not distinguish between objects and concepts, and so it does not occur in language-terms (but only in painting-terms).  But since I am not a painting, I have tried to describe this culture in words: this is the Painting Statement. That statement is not a determinant of the painting-culture, but only a necessarily incomplete description of it.   

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2. Materials-culture and Painting-culture

What makes the paintings? The painting-culture does not, of itself, make the paintings. The painting-culture is an extension of another culture: the culture of the materials (pigment and paint-making, wood and stretcher building/re-building, canvas and stretching/priming, the scale of paint, etc.).   This materials-culture makes the paintings.  But since the materials-culture is a culture—no less a culture for being constituted by objects and their relations (this depends only upon the recognition of objects as concepts)—the materials-culture also implies the painting-culture.  The painting-culture, in turn, creates a need for paintings and stimulates development of the materials-culture in the making of more paintings. The painting-culture reveals the materials-culture, just as the paint reveals the space of the canvas, just as the space of the canvas reveals the scale of the stretcher. This is the intelligence of objects.

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