dayoutlast is a record of my direct engagement with mostly contemporary art, mostly Los Angelean.

As this blog has evolved since its 2010 inception, so has my perspective. What I once perceived as central within the investigation was what was central, literally, within the photographic frame that I shared here. While still an important consideration, such thinking has also given way to more peripheral considerations, ones also accompanied occasionally by text (written manifestation of thought) and the oscillations between them. What's missing here are larger unknowns surrounding issues of presentation and representation; the amount of time and space it actually takes to accomplish such first-hand observations; and the quandaries between documentation and interpretation.

Despite my attempt to communicate here with image and text what is essential in some respect about the artwork, neither representation should ever be considered a substitution for the primary viewing experience. Of course, occasionally there are exceptions.

Most of the time, these posts are merely remnants---residual fragments---from my last day out.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Andy Woll "Sticks and Stones" @ Night Gallery

Mt. Wilson (Western XI), 2016
oil on canvas
50 x 37 1/2 inches

Mt. Wilson (Western VIII), 2016
oil on canvas
50 x 37 inches

Mt. Wilson (Western VII), 2016
oil on canvas
50 x 37 inches

Cezanne's preoccupation with Mont Sainte-Victoire was one of form (partially mixed colors, partially integrated shapes) and partial solitude somewhere between culture and nature. Woll's paintings seem to seek similar associations but with an emphasis on self (which is to say an interior concept), as evidenced by literal authorship signified in more than one way.  Rather than a built structure (bridge/building) appearing in a mountainous landscape, again partially rendered/in view, the painted letters that spell out the artists name in these works here are the only sign of human intervention in otherwise unnaturally looking natural landscapes. And beyond this climb, the horizon appears infinite in possibilities as much as the strokes and nuances within these limitless canvases that also run over the edges.

So, then the question boils down to what such an investigation means now some 130 years after the first time we've encountered such post-impressionst concerns. Deviations as overt signatures in two dimensions, a keeping of tabs via hatchmarks, and a palette evolutions presumably partially derived from an actual place, Mt. Wilson, AND some other places that start to tell a different story, one the Fauves began to tell.  Whereas in the early 1900s, such color deviations from nature may support subconscious realms favored by thinking of Freud of that time or even industrial-produced paints, some of Woll's colors seem machine-based with the added reference point of light-based technologies, flat glass screens and other digital realms.  Once the technical bits have been accounted for, it's also worth considering the  relationship between singularity and multiplicity via the power to transform basic, natural materials. Certainly, this has been a modernist theme within a similar historical time span.  These paintings also revel the way mid-20th century semi-abstraction did, somewhere between emotive mark-making and more controlled moves that reference interior human nature more so than whatever external conditions may be under the influence. It's really not that hard to consider undulating, organic bodily forms when standing before these vertically-oriented paintings.

More questions than answers seem to arise about these paintings.  Perhaps, such an individual quest resists the current stream of bit-based, image-making by partial absorption linguistically? Their technicolor tactility is pronounced. Perhaps, they are a reminder of a persistent, existential crisis? The hatch marks on the side suggest counting paint applications the way prisoners count days or perhaps notch a belt for some other accomplishment? Passing the time... Waiting for nothing, really.  Either way, it's a conversation of marking through intervals, apparently of conquest or power, power over/under nature (oil-based, raw material converted onto cotton representing human-less landscape save cultural symbols that add up to a name, a last name in this instance (a final word?), a signature of self or a larger sign tucked away on a hill, upon the foot of a mountain (cf. Hollywood sign).

Whether a built structure  (bridge/building) foregrounding a larger concern (limitless horizons and yet to be seen beyonds), the linguistic structure here is inarguable in its self-referentiality (heavily codified paintings historically that build toward greater unknowns within oneself).  This is not bad terrain to travel nor company to keep as questions such as the ones raised in these paintings do.  Rather than represent a bridge within the painted image, why not think of these paintings as bridges in and of themselves, ones made out of sticks and stones?