About

After a long period of time I learned that
not everything that I make is worth remembering or holding on to
The up-side of learning how to let go of things
is the surprising kind of knowing that arrises in its place

I spent a lot of time thinking I should have a high success rate in my studio
basically, I thought that everything I made had to be meaningful
but over time I’ve allowed myself to let go of more things
This does not mean that I don’t have regret
regret, anger, frustration, and sadness contain a lot of energy
Letting go of the regret might also mean letting go of that energy

Loss is not good or bad
but it is a quick way to know what is at stake

I’ve built in the process of letting go into my studio practice
this takes the form of making paintings and wiping them out
painting over old painting
or tearing up and reworking drawings

As my success rate gets lower I have more enjoyment in the studio
it leaves more time for making things
I’m a fast painter
I don’t enjoy things that look laborious
but I enjoy to labor
When I cover up a painting
which I do often
there is a certain clarity in the loss
a destructive energy
it is motivating
over time I’ve picked certain things out of all this chaos
I have found it very difficult to know what my work is as an artist
I’m not on social media because I did not enjoy its immediacy or the feeling of it’s keeping a record.
Memory asserts itself through different forms, mediums and materials
Objects affect our attention

In his book “Philosophy and Belief” David-Levi Strauss quotes the Czech-Brazilian hilosopher Vilem Flusser from his book “Towards a Philosophy of Photography,

“The apparatus functions just as the universe does,
namely, automatically,”
which is evil.
So we need “envisioners,”
producers of technical images
who “try to turn an automatic apparatus
against its own condition
of being automatic.”
The unrelenting techno-optimism has a pessimistic counter:
“the world has be come meaningless,
and consciousness will find nothing there
but so many disconnected elements.”

I don’t often take photos of things I make and see
and sometimes I regret this
but I only regret it when I have cause to remember what I have not photographed
I often find myself wishing, as a teacher,
that painting programs would teach photo theory
as a way
for us all
to get some critical distance from our world

I’ve troubled over the influence of photography and new image apparati only to realize how much critical distance I think painting and painting discourse can still offer.

In my work I have chosen to think
that it is the threat to painting
by photography
that gives paintings its vitality today
sometimes things are best defined in negative terms
against something else

Memory pulls us forward.
But how?
by what means?
and by which objects?

“Meaning does not precede experience but occurs in the process of experience itself.”
This is a quote from Rosalind Krauss who refused to let go of medium specificity as a radical-form of knowing. Unlike Greenberg she did not think that medium-specificity needed to exist solely in the mediums of the “guilds” painting and sculpture,” rather she thought “medium” was any logic that existed materially outside the self. Medium specificity is discovered by finding the limitations or the rules for what a given object can allow for, and not allow for.

what is experience but an encounter with an object
Memory pulls us forward.
But how?
by what means?
and by which objects?

experience + organization of experience = memory/forgetting
memory is a metaphor for holding onto, for knowing and not knowing

we remember both culturally and personally through objects and the way they are organized
both in our personal lives and publicly

Some trends I’ve been following in my work:

I’m drawn to the tension between the flat schematics of a horizontal picture plane such as a floor-plan or writing and the outward perception of deepspace. I enjoy the space between things — I like a very active negative space. I have a love of the outdoors and I’m sure these two experiences are related.

I work from observation, my knowledge of building, a desire for a connection between thing such as picture and object, and most importantly from copying my own work.

Forms are living, they make seeds and grow anew.

Curved lines animate. Straight lines produce depth through layering and by way of diagonals. They can cut through the illusion of a picture and make reference the flat shape of the canvas, linear writing, and points of connection.

I have worked in many different ways exploring different avenues, my interest in the intersection between observational painting and abstraction has evolved over a long time and has not always been apparent to me.

Some of my past attempts are more relevant to me than others. In 2016 and 2017 I made many works which I called pattern paintings in which I would photograph watercolors and drawings and then turn them in to black and white computer images. I would print these out and rework them, and then photograph and print them again.

I don’t believe at all in invention, only in interpretation. Invention is a lie that covers up and steals from what came before it.

The role of repetition in artistic production is complicated by the ease of reproduction through photography. Remaking, or copying old work is a strategy for identifying with myself and it is a meditation on reproduction (tradition vs. automatism?)

In 2013 I began working with watercolors and paper. I would make collages. Sometimes the watercolors would start with observational paintings and other times they would start abstractly and move towards grounded depictions of space. This became my way of working with composition — composition is a mater of producing hierarchies inside of a picture — it is a way to feel the presence of space.

In 2012 I made many paintings of rooms in which the walls are hung with abstract paintings — my concern in painting has been trying to find meaning from it by looking at it sideways, as both an object and a window simultaneously. The fact of something being two things at once which are incommensurable is both common and pleasurable.

In 2021 over a period of 3 month in New Mexico I began to work explicitly between the depth of landscapes and the flatness of grids. I grew up in Northern California and the first paintings that I looked at and thought about were plein air landscapes. Landscape painting is very important to my practice but I want to make a kind of landscapes that is self aware and located inside bodily perception rather than image.

I currently live and work in Norfolk, Connecticut with my wife Molly Zuckerman-Hartung and dog Moses and teach at MICA in the LeRoy E. Hoffberger school of painting.