I haven’t done a studio update in a while, so here’s an excerpt from a recent interview at Studio Critical, a new painting blog based in Madrid, in which I tried to articulate some of my thoughts about painting, irresoluteness and impersonating a modernist.
Studio at the Elizabeth Foundation.
SC: Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
SB: I have a warren of rooms in the attic of an old New England house in my hometown and a small studio at the Elizabeth Foundation in NYC that I share with a fairly well known, frequently traveling, conceptual artist. I�ve adapted my art practice to suit my circumstances � that is, by working on some projects that are essentially portable, such as blogging, writing, and digital compositions.
Working in small spaces affects my painting as well. Scale is content. I like figuring out ways to make big work within my limitations: I work alone in two small spaces, spend little money on materials, and transport things in a small station wagon and via the US mail. Large pieces that I see in Chelsea�s hangar-sized spaces often seem institutional � as if they were funded by corporate interests, made by an army of assistants in an assembly-line fashion to fill museum walls. I�d like to work at that scale while keeping the work as personal and introspective as it has been with smaller pieces.
The attic studio.
SC: Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
SB: These new paintings have been hovering in an unfinished state for a couple months. I like drawing out the process, so I�m using pencil and acrylic on small wood panels to make interim studies of details in the paintings. I used to do this on the computer, but now I do it by hand. I�ve enjoyed working on the studies so much that I�m reluctant to finish the paintings, the very incompleteness of which has provided a good subject for new work.
SC: What are you having the most trouble resolving?
SB: I suppose trying to accept the fact that things may never be resolved. I�m not trying to be glib. Accepting profound irresoluteness is harder than finding more superficial resolution…
Read the entire interview here.
Unfinished painting, 2011, oil on canvas, 40 x 60″
Of course, incompleteness is relative…
Interview: Sharon Butler at London-based [standard]Interview (January 2011)