Michael Hunter and Paul Cowan: At Them, Not Through Them

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AT THEM NOT THROUGH THEM
New Work by Michael Hunter / Paul Cowan

July 25 through August 8th

Opening Reception: July 25, 2009 – 6-10 PM
Knock Knock Gallery, Chicago IL

“A novice painter asked his teacher, “When should I consider my painting finished?” And the teacher answered, “When you can look at it in amazement and say to yourself ‘I’m the one who did that!’ ”  – Sartre

“I think a poor life is lived by any one who doesn’t regularly take time out to stand and gaze, or sit and listen, or touch, or smell, or brood, without any further end in mind, simply for the satisfaction gotten from that which is gazed at, listened to, touched, smelled, or brooded upon.”  – Clement Greenberg

How does one successfully create something? And when does this ‘success’ reach it’s explanation, having become un-stimulating, boring, or vague.  Here we use painting as a device, a gesture. This gesture results in an object that is product of the duration or end of a specific process.  It exists as a tool to instigate interest rather than to explain.  Here, to reduce the object to an explanation, limits it’s potential to stimulate the viewer on alternate planes.

We seem to assume the roles of the painter, allowing our work to exist within the context of painting, concerned with ideas of abstraction and representation, surface and application, and working in, on, or within the picture plane.  Our work is highly aware of its role as a two dimensional object, interested in maintaining an integrity to this plane. We choose to not work in, but rather on and within this plane, ultimately allowing the medium to exist ‘in’ as well.  We construct and appropriate color and not values, simple application and not form, compositional tactics concerned with the pictures edge and not perspectives within. Understanding this ‘flatness’ we have created is what will create the aesthetic successes and joys in our work.  Appropriating and addressing materials, devices, ideas, and tactics commonly used, these tropes allow the work to be enjoyed without constraints, using their familiarity as a way of entry. There is no looking through any of these works, only at them.

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