A few months ago I went toThe Contemporary in Atlanta and had a critique with the curator Stuart Horodner. The linked article/story is wonderful by the way, some perspective on his personality as well. He’s a very kind yet honest person, someone I hope to get to know better before I leave Atlanta. I didn’t realize the full extent of how much I missed being critiqued until I went. That’s not saying that I wanted someone to lick my butt and tell me I was wonderful. I wanted someone to tell me the truth and that’s what I got.
I took a disk with some files from college and then some of the cellular self portrait series that I had been working on.
I was super excited, schweaty and nervous. He walked in the room and asked me “So what do you want out of this?” I said “I want a critique” I suppose he gets more than a few people wanting career advice and questions like “Should I go to grad shool?” Which, how can you really answer that question for someone? He said “ok” and looked at my images and told me after some hmms. and some clicking back and forth between, that my cellular series was “cold”. I agreed. It was cold, compared to the other stuff I had done.
Let me clear something up, because it’s something that’s been bothering me. I have a problem with being an artist. I don’t feel like I’m serious enough. I told Stuart that. I told him the cellular series was my attempt at formalism, because I would be taken more seriously. He looked at me like I was crazy and basically said bullshit. He told me to paint what I loved, do what I wanted, be true to what I did, and I would be taken seriously. Which is obvious but not obvious in the world of art crap. If you’ve never seen Art School Confidential, it will give you a funny/sad perspective. OMGWTFTRIANGLES!!! John Malkovitch is an art professor stuck forever on the profundity of triangles. Pure formalism which can be forever discussed and analyzed from every possible direction but is devoid of any real content or meaning.
So anyway, I took my info. home and sat on it. I thought about how I could improve on the cellular self portrait series, I didn’t want to throw it to the side and forget about it. It had good bones. Finally I figured it out. Add animals. They’ll add the story, and that’s really what I’m interested in. I like looking at a painting and seeing a story. I really don’t want to listen to some stuck up asshat in a scarf and t-shirt expound on something that’s not even visually interesting to begin with. So: