Watch my video interview from the “UNFINISHE .” exhibition at The Labor Party. – Thanks to Ian Blume for inviting me to participate in the exhibit and capturing my insanity on video.
I will have one unfinished painting titled “Double Rainbow” featured in the “UNFINISHE .” exhibit at The Labor Party (216 N. Mosley St, Wichita, Kansas 67202) on FINAL FRIDAY, July 25th, 6:30pm – 9:30pm.
“UNFINISHE .” is an exhibition of incomplete work that examines why, sometimes, things just don’t get done.
The exhibit features incomplete works by B.B. Blank, Ian Blume, Jillian Vanessa Blume, Seth Blume, Brent Duncan, Marc Durfee, Conan Fugit, Alisha Gridley, Christopher Gulick, Hallie Linnebur, Isabel Lopez, Skyler Lovelace, Jaki McElroy, Phillip “Hamdog” Nellis, Jessica Papaioannou, Dustin Parker, John Pirtle, Randy Regier, Lee Shiney, Allison Sutton, Alex Twitchel, and Wendy Valladars.
In 2009 I had a solo exhibition at Watermark Books & Cafe called “The Beautiful Confusion,” which was a collection of nonobjective abstract paintings. The work was heavily influenced by artists like Richard Diebenkorn and Robert Rauschenberg. The paintings were constructed using found materials such as maps, comic books, stencils, decorative papers, cross word puzzles, pages from old books, record sleeves, paint swatch samples, blueprints and acrylic paint. Creating nonobjective abstract paintings was a radical departure from my previous work. In my mind becoming a nonobjective abstract artist was equivalent to someone like Lucian Freud abruptly abandoning his figurative work to create paintings like Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series. In my mind becoming an abstract painter was a radical and rebellious act. I was burning down the house I built. I was trying to distance myself from my old work. I was trying to reinvent myself. I was trying to give my creativity a blood transfusion.
I never drew sketches. I never predetermined the final outcome. I just picked up my paint brush and jumped into the fire. My goal was to become completely lost in the creative process. To discover happy accidents. To become a creature of instinct. To create from the gut. I cut and pasted paper. I splattered paint. I scrapped and peeled paper. I added and subtracted. I created and destroyed. Until the painting was finished. But when is a painting finished? The final destination was always unknown. There was never a logical conclusion. When you paint a portrait there is a logical conclusion but an abstract painting has no logical conclusion. I learned to trust my gut. I learned to wait for that “special feeling” that told me “This is finished.”
My contribution to the “Unfinishe .” exhibition is a painting called “Double Rainbow” which is an unfinished B-side from the “The Beautiful Confusion” series. “Double Rainbow” is one of those paintings that never reached a satisfying conclusion. Something “wasn’t working” but I could never identify the problem or find a solution that felt satisfying. The left side of the painting never worked but I wasn’t sure what it needed. Paint splatters? Geometric shapes? More cut paper? More color? More lines? Painting is similar to cooking. Sometimes you need to add more salt or more garlic. Sometimes the soup tastes strange and you don’t know how to fix it. Should I add more carrots? more onions? more pepper? Or should I just order pizza instead?
I’m not sure why I never finished “Double Rainbow.” It is one of those paintings that keeps resurfacing and I think “I should finally finish this fucking painting” but I’m still uncertain about how to go about “finishing” it. Maybe “Double Rainbow” will always haunt me and I will continue to revisit the painting over and over again and ponder the possibilities.
Maybe it is already “finished” and I’m not ready to accept it.