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)