I have been working all my life with images culled from common, lumpen sources, selected for references they carry, things having to do with place, about class, about being in a male body. Recently, I’ve been more up- front, as it were, about this relationship to pictures, by embarking on a sort of fool’s errand –one of attempting some kind of thoroughness regarding references.I can’t include it all, and that seems right, even ingenuous. The impossibility of it seems akin to much of Painting itself – a practice generally accepted as difficult, in a landscape generally accepted as more and more complicated. How much can one person be coughing back up?
Of course for me the mine of imagery is generally cheap, or escapist, often even trash, but nevertheless these representations, and not terribly much more, accompanied my developmental years. These pictures can contain the callowness of the culture and social order I grew up in, and simultaneously, the pathways of flight away into my (our) enthusiasms. It’s media-glut iconography from small town bedroom dreaming.
When you look at it, what was commonplace was the stack of wrestling and pop/rock music magazines, that makes sense. The shelf of art books that my mother had was the abnormality.
Drawing a lot was (and should probably stay?) a young artist’s starting point. Duplicating media images by hand is kind of how it starts.
Later, when you are juggling so many considerations about what might make a work successful, when you have things on your mind like, say, conceptualism’s move away from traditional artistic materials (to pick one of many) or, maybe, the emphasis on the de-skilling of aesthetic work (a biggie)– what happens when you return to those first impulses?
How much of one’s thinking, remembering, fretting can get contained in a work?
How do we locate ourselves, using a medium that has been so challenged, if we are merely rearranging that which already exists?