STUDIO GALLERY

By Gabriel Thy • Art Theory • 16 Jul 2008

I DELIVERED MY MATERIALS to the Studio Gallery this afternoon. Tonight the membership will jury some 65 selections in considering my application for membership. Studio Gallery is Washington’s oldest artist owned gallery, located in a beautiful brownstone in historic Dupont Circle. The director, Adah Rose Bitterbaum, has been most helpful and courteous in guiding me through the application process.

I don’t know if I am overwrought in the explanation of process of at the expense of highlighting the transliterative matter of the work itself. Below is the statement I offered along with three canvases 1200 square inches or better, and two smaller 24″x18″ ones. In addition to these five paintings, I presented a portfolio of over 60 images—photographic glossy 10″x8″ digital prints of other work.

My statement:

I work from the gesture, or rather, wherever my quivering stroke takes the brush.

Each painting I complete is nothing but the conflicted wonderment of an angst-driven subconscious on the prowl for a brutal honesty, urged to sniff out those personal heresies residing somewhere between a humble arrogance and an arrogant humility, harnessing hidden energies which instruct the flow of imagination. Rarely do I start with a pre-conceived notion of what “I would like to imagine” but instead, I struggle against the common elements of mind and materials the status quo presents. So, when painting, I follow the paint from first splash to finished canvas, making choices of color, syntax, and narrative.

Believing I privately owe each image to the Muse of Idea, to the God of Permanent Arrival, my attack of the canvas is best described as a tension-loosening charge of inertia transfixed in sequence as a terse mixture of hesitation, followed by an explosive jolt of fierce joy at what is happening, almost always followed in the end by a weak fear, anxious worry and misgivings until I eventually reach a plateau of reflex gratitude, or flat acceptance of what has transpired.

Concerning the veracity of any paint, I presume that my art begins from a “condition of need” and is a matter of ambiguous perception with carry-on luggage both in sociopolitical and metaphysical terms, and while I often struggle against my operative senses when confronted with an uneasy thought or a complexity I can’t easily deconstruct, a certain unexpected beauty and intelligence are often the reward for faith and diligence, hence, each canvas is the physical battleground where an immutable struggle works itself out.

“Does this painting resolve itself in an apt equation? Is it a valid expression of real concerns, rooted in its own space and time and asthethic experience?” I ask. If I affirm that it does on all counts, I accept it as a finished painting, or mixed media work.

As a conflicted idealist, I find myself continually drawn to the manifested contradictions of global society in all its metaphysical flux. I use a strained figure, a rough erratic line, oscillative texture and virilent color to speak of that battleground where art and politics beat each other up while few are they who seem the wiser.

Self-taught, I work full-time from my 52 O Street Studios loft located in the northernmost reaches of the NoMa neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Yeah, maybe a bit too overwrought…

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