Focus Gallery Two: Florescence
March 6 - April 25, 2015
My work is really about observation - from the beginning stages of making photographs for a piece, to the completion of the painting. For me, what becomes important is not to embellish what I see but to make it as true to what I see as possible. The exciting and challenging part to making paintings like these is being as straightforward as possible and, at the same time, trying to end-up with something poetic.
Even though photography is often thought of as being “the truth”, it is really just another kind of fiction. I paint from my own photographs, but as the painting evolves, my own style and sensibilities are going to intervene. Whatever I choose to emphasize – it is all mediated and fictionalized. As I am not a photographer, there is a random quality of some of my source photographs. If there is a mistake in a photo, such as too much light shining on a flower petal, these kinds of “accidents” can become the emotional fulcrum of the entire painting.
There is a lot of discussion about “skill” in contemporary painting at the moment. Good art can be very loose, meticulously rendered, careful, or sloppy. In other words, there isn’t a right or wrong when it comes to painting. On the one hand, it is easy to project the baggage that the history of academic painting carries along with it onto any representational painting that is being made today. On the other hand, however, sometimes it is refreshing and stimulating to look at a representational painting and realize that is not being informed by any one movement or set of ideals.
Although “skill” may be the first impression that some might take away from my work, when I look at the paintings, the paint and the forms can look very awkward at times. I don’t mind this at all; in fact, I welcome it. Making a thing look “real”, slick, or shiny is easy once you learn the tricks – and it can be very pleasurable. The hard part becomes making it beautiful and compelling. The real trick is: can you do it poetically? -- Andrew Stalder