My work engages with the limits and possibilities of language through the use of gesture, mark making and typography. In Artificial Solutions, a solo show at the University of California Irvine, I showed a series of text based paintings and works on paper that explored a developing coded form that verges on language, but is not married to any particular linguistic skill set. This lettering system is similar and yet independent of the alphabet system. I call this a processing system of the ACCs (Abstract Character Copies), which cannot be identified as letters. Instead, like Rudolph Laban’s system of interchangeable parts, I use them to activate experience in paintings, annotative movement scores, performance pieces and a growing indexical font. Their critical impulse generates an alternative language that communicates to the viewer through repetition and connects the ACCs in the same way that words become phrases.
My most recent work focuses on developing this emerging system of ACCs by looking at the organizational infrastructures that support the various stages of the production of within my practice. In this series entitled How to Expand the Dance Floor, I employ painting as well as demonstrate the infrastructure that houses the production and display of a painting. I present a series of paintings that initially demonstrate different formal concerns in terms of color, line, scale and mark from my last body of work, though upon a closer read, repeating titles and new ACCs are showcased, alluding to the construction of a larger ongoing narrative-like structure.
The paintings primarily play with the established ACC forms, but variation of color, scale and composition are engaged to highlight difference within repetition. This type of recursive looping comes from a self-generative practice of repurposing my works on paper and producing referential content to produce new painting. I cut works on paper to make collages, with these then becoming references in large-scale paintings. The ACCs presented in any particular painting all stem from the same source and are simply replicas of each other. They are highly constructed, meticulously analytical and every move is premeditated.
I not only replicate an ACC, but I often pour paint in the nature of Lynda Benglis to produce a range of thicknesses à la paper collage. Using marble dust, resin and lightweight molding compounds I am able to replicate the reaction of when oil-based paint and water-based paint fail to mix, resulting in a beading effect. Texture is a crucial element and I believe it provides movement and aids in producing a visceral nearly palpable experience with color. I use bright, bold color to trick the eye into assuming an easy read of a painting but upon closer inspections provide unexpected shifts, using color to play with the assumed layering of the paint. In favoring this mode of attention, a certain level of defiance is instated. I am not interested in mystifying anything, rather I am more concerned with extending or lengthening the time spent digesting the work.
I aim to produce a subtle dance between the viewer and the painting; having them make decisions about whether to tilt their head left or perhaps right to see the painting from a different vantage, stand close enough to read the encaustic or lack-there-of layers or far enough away to see the flattening of the whole work. The primary motivation is not to create uncertainty as a value in itself, but to captivate a viewer just as windows once did and now as screens do. Aware of the smartphones’ allure, I aim to offer an equally seductive but more complex experience that converses with the physical space surrounding painting.
When viewing art there is always a presentational aspect to the process and we are all participants as we partake and negotiate our personal, quiet, subtle dance. When thinking about this quiet dance floor I cannot help but think how to expand the floor to make way for more dancing. In August of this year I initiated a theoretical exhibition space – a proposed utopian gallery that sidesteps proper institutional economic protocol and etiquette. 3 Tage Wach – 3 Days Awake became an infrastructure that houses the production and display of art, blurring the lines that come with dancing in the dark or art and exhibition, studio as gallery, artist as curator/gallery owner, gallery as institution. I simultaneously see my painting studio as a space to provide the Los Angeles art community with a platform to produce and provoke art. Like a set for a play, I built movable walls that effortlessly allow the set to change. Each month for six months a different curator/organizer has been given agency over the course of the month to engage with the public as they see fit. The space opens for three days each month and after four iterations the space has provided a public platform for over one hundred artists, ten curators/organizers and four artist-run spaces. 3 Days Awake has been acknowledged by Art in America, Paris LA, Glasstire and many other local publications.
After January 2015, 3 Days Awake the space will transform into a new type of laboratory that can circulate within a creative community but is not trapped in the virtual world of the Internet; embodied in an older system of information transfer. A book will be released in fall 2015 that compresses interviews, essays, conversations and documentation of the six months, as well as visual images that negotiate the concepts and permutations of painting in this radical time. These will be given to bookstores, artist-run spaces and institutions at no cost to be handled in the way each organization sees fit. Sales of the publication will therefore entirely go towards supporting these self-governing institutions.
At a young age my French, Spanish and Native American father learned quickly not to speak in his native tongue among white people for fear of getting beat up. At an even younger age my Russian, German, Jewish mother learned where in New York City she could get her grandma’s favorite dishes: liver and tongue. I guess you can say, I have learned how to be a chameleon from my heritage.