Painting Everyday IV: Paul Gagner & Todd Bienvenu
December 12 – January 16
Opening reception: December 12, 6:00-9:00 PM
Painting Everyday is a fall curatorial series presented by Spoonbill Studio under the keen curation of Madeleine Mermall. It is composed of four succinct exhibitions, featuring Polly Shindler, Bella Foster, Kathryn Lynch, Gretchen Scherer, Paul Gagner, and Todd Bienvenu. Using the traditional method of display, the canvas, each artist engages the viewer with images, environments & non-typed communication that return us to the estranged everyday world in which we exist. The result enables a small escape from the normal mental-delve into the uninhabitable spaces of the digital.
It is a natural refocus on ourselves, the bodily, the corporeal means of interaction. Our eyes look for more than just consumption of a screen. They seek the physical spaces we inhabit and the objects encountered there, tangible items that create a space, beyond the 1’s and 0’s. The exhibition venue itself, Spoonbill Studio, alive and comforting, a treasury of books, the old rug fraying in the corner, is a revolt against the prevailing gallery model of white walls, large empty volumes, and catatonic front desks—an environment utterly separate from day-to-day reality, and yet one oddly premiumed, prioritized and privileged. Painting Everyday encompasses the return to the familiar, and because the familiar has been so absented, the familiar will even seem a bit uncanny.
Painting Everyday possesses a quiver of connotations. It suggests the discipline of painting each and every day, without a time factor. Fifteen minutes fits the bill as much as five hours. No judgment. You can do this if you want to. It’s not a practice like lawyer or dentist; it’s a habit worthy of pursuit if you can fit it into your schedule. Luv ya, IRL and for real. Do it!
From another direction, the painting of the everyday points to the scarlet begonias in the living room window, in a clay flower pot next to a green bottle and a brown one, with a blue sun shining in. Can we still see the scarlet begonias, the bottles and the blue sun, please? And the yellow sky? Don’t hide them in abstract allegories. Not for right now. Let’s just see what it looks like around us on a personal, figurative painterly canvas level. How about that? Just for now.
Can we hold off, for one autumn at least, on non-figurative abstraction and the immaterial, intangible digitalization of the world? Let’s escape the immaterialization, and seek the sensory, the real, the experiences that occur in tangibility. Because the danger of abstraction, unfortunately, is that it plays into the hands of computers. If computers take over how will we have any fun anymore? It’s already bad enough, with half of life-time, or maybe 75%, consumed by screen slavery, and tangled cords, low battery alerts. At night our faces turn blue, now, phones like flashlights under the chin around the campfire.