Sunday, October 22, 2006

Being Declarative

I finished a new piece that I'm calling Declaration.

I'm very pleased with it. Here's a detail.

I've been doing text pieces for a while now, but something snapped into place in my head when I was working on this one. I'm going to keep doing these: they allow me to answer a lot of the questions I couldn't address in the large airbrushed pieces. I've always been interested in narrative structures: my big paintings use literary devices like plots and subplots, suspense, disguises and lies. (The lie strikes me as an essentially literary form- maybe the disguise is the pictorial representation of the lie. ) Anyways, my interest has always been quite squarely in the middle of the two- between the lie told and the face of the person telling it.

But people rarely get to that level with the big work. Part of the problem is of my own making. I'm so interested in using accessible, pleasurable visual forms that a certain kind of viewer assumes that what I'm saying must be as easily accessible as how I'm saying it. It's usually not. These text pieces don't let me hide what I'm thinking at all: I'm just saying it. And rather than writing it down, which has never worked for me, I can make the text include both pictorial and literary ideas. There's no point, for me, in having a rock hyrax say something if I can't draw a picture of a rock hyrax.

This piece is about the problem of being declarative. There are bigger images of it on my website here.

There's also an interesting, twisty snake of a little article that touches on the reasons I'm interested in using the kinds of visual pleasure that we associate with simple content here, but that's not why anyone should read it. It's a good article- enraging and redeeming in turns. It's about lip gloss, camp, and irony, and it makes a person glad to live in Philadelphia, where there's no question of "living" ones "life". Philadelphia is not a place that tolerates too many quotation marks. You can get beat up for looking too ironic.

No comments: