Art off duty
There is something familiar about dried paint. The way that it smells despite having sat out, exactly the way it did when I first unscrewed the lid. The way that it feels when I scrap it off of the tabletop and roll it between my index finger and thumb. Mainly, the familiarity comes from its long history of covering surfaces. It covers up mistakes, decorates, masks, beautifies. In this way, paint has often been tied to utility. That may be in the form of constructing an image or decorating shared spaces.
I am not interested in creating images with my paint nor decorating a surface. I am attempting to create a space for my paint objects to inhabit. Not relying on a surface for it to cling to, but rather choosing a surface or space for it to exist in. A space where they don’t have to be viewed by us humans as paintings, but just as they are. Whether that be an un-stretched canvas that has found its way a top a wobbly two-by-four, a 25 -foot-long orange and blue paint sheet on a road trip across the country, or a community of paint garments that have hung themselves up for the night. They are a family, each member free to exist in its nontraditional universe.
They are art objects in that they are made with an attention to the material properties of acrylic and adhere loosely to principles of color and form. They are decorative through my exploration of textures and pattern. And they may be placed on display while maneuvering around the world. But with this body of work, I am allowing them to travel home to rest, separating them from those age-old categories. Out of the reach of art critics, and a majority of academic eyes. In a way, they are art objects off-the-job.
I am not alone in this exploration of the autonomy of paint as a medium. Plenty of artists like me have obstructed and diverged from traditional uses of paint. I am exploring something further than that. I began working this way intuitively and quickly understood how I was calling attention to the distinction between paint as it has been and paint how it is or rather can be. The members of Art of Duty are a glimpse into what art objects do when they are out of our line of vision. This my way of illuminating the truth that art has been art long before we have been here to coin and canonize the term and it can still exist without our prying eyes.