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What you will find here

… are galleries of my paintings and installation work, posts about work I made or am making, and a lot of blogs about other artists’ work that I find interesting and inspiring. If you’re looking for one of 1,000+ artists about which I’ve posted some content and at least one image, scroll down, use the menu (options to search by hashtag or thumbnail gallery) or the search bar below.

There’s a subscription feature for this blog and thanks if you decide to follow along.

BTW, “yes,” the title of this blog is a reference to Arthur Danto’s collection of essays “After The End of Art.” This book had a good bit of influence on me in grad school around the time I decided to take some time away – I accept the primary theses that Art has no where left it has to go as a mission or project of westernized culture. If there’s nothing left we have to do as part of some grand, arcing historical narrative, we should do what we love and let the future worry about what we did that was of historical value. Personally, I’d rather be a cool ancestor than a loyal descendant.

Thankful

Been trying out giving my update blogs a theme and this is the word that comes to mind today. I hope you’re all reading this (whoever you are) on Friday because day you are reconnecting with family, or friends if the former are not able to part of your day today for whatever reason. I am thankful for all 258 of you, for supporting my journey and making my practice real by seeing it.

One of the things I’m also grateful for is good art writing and critical discourse. I’m a big fan of Two Coats of Paint as readers will know, and this “blogazine” exists due to the immense creative energy of Sharon Butler. You should totally give Sharon’s newest release a listen- a conversation with the insightful Raphael Rubinstein. Their conversation has inspired me to re-read his important essay about a sensibility in the first part of this century which he called at the time Provisional Painting. One of the primary notions he addresses is “the impossibility of painting” and (I think) it relates to the notion I advance with the title of this blog- that Art is dead and we (painters at least) are creating in a time where this is no mission, goal, or destination.

So I wrote recently that I ran into a wall and rather than beat my head on it I let it go. First couple of images below are included because I am reflecting lately on line and edge- focusing on the things that happen as the trapezoids interact. Also some progress shots. I (sort of) war in my mind between the idea that starting a painting from a raw canvas with no sketch can reveal things I wouldn’t discover if I had a set plan, and the idea that this is some grand, heroic gesture which is pretty fraught with historical weight that I don’t wish. Which, is one of the reasons that I talk about the theme of contradiction in my practice (two ideas which can simultaneously be true). “Yes” this practice can lead to unknown and fruitful places AND unpacking the problematic portions of the predominant narratives of Modernism and abstraction generally can be important to how I position myself in society as a creative.

Also, been thinking a *lot* lately of the relationship between developing a system that generates compositions to what Sol Lewit said:

All in your head

We’ve all heard this phrase. Its meaning, generally/culturally, is that some challenge one is experiencing has taken on significance that requires an exaggeration of that challenge’s existential implications. People might also use the phrase “beating yourself up.” I don’t think Artists are immune to this. In fact, I’ll posit in this particular update on my practice that I find a lot of the Art in my Art (my practice) is in my head, or at least takes place in my thoughts. Meaning, there’s an element of making Art (with a capital “A”) that requires one to be in their head, “beating up” an idea or three.

A few things happened since my last update that motivated me to produce this short blog, using words rather than images (“yes,” as you’ve probably guessed, I’m a bit stuck “in my head” and the physical aspects of my practice have slowed down for the moment). So that’s thing number one of course- 1) “beating yourself up” as a creative when work isn’t just pouring out of your finger tips. You’ve probably guessed the “answer” to this- that the intellectual, academic, word-based part of making art is actually what distinguishes a practice from a hobby so don’t… yeah, you get it.

“Sterling, what happened?” In addition to making a small body of work recently that I acknowledged was a departure and then following it up with a smaller piece that further explored line/edge (point- I was “in my head” already about a possible new direction for my painting), in the last week I had a piece that was underway (end of the linked blog) fall to pieces on me. The epiphany moment for this piece, which was literally invaluable but at the time felt like failure, was when I realized that what the painting was teaching me was recognizing that this thing went somewhere I didn’t want it to go and stepping away (not following it, in this case). So, I pulled it off the wall, turned it over and re-stapled it to the wall where it will serve a better purpose, which is exploring some things that have happened in some smaller studies, but at scale. In fact, immediately after it came off the wall, 3 other potential substrates went up on various surfaces in my studio, with the intent to spend less time constrained by a goal and more time released to explore new things without a goal (and that’s thing #2- committing to resolving the tension between head and hand by spending time in what psychologists would call a state of “play”).

The shape I’m in

So first things first- go see the 68th annual Durham Art Guild juried show. I’m really happy with this piece (wish I had taken a pic that shows some other object for scale reference- this one is roughly 5′ from top to bottom).

I’ve also been continuing to explore the shape of the container for these containers- in a couple of cases, the shape of the canvas. Previous iterations are below, all of which I’ve written more about (here, here and here).

Below are some images of the work in progress. Relying a lot on the projector for this one. I am enjoying the way my process for generating paintings has distinct elements of fabrication, like taping off lines, that allow me to just be in the studio and execute.

Kazuya Sakai

At the Dallas Museum of Art, visitors with red-green deficiencies can now check out a pair of color blindness alleviation lenses at no cost.

Kazuya is one of the artists included (posthumously). Born in Buenos Aires to Japanese parents, he spent the majority of his youth in Japan, studying literature and philosophy. Upon his return to Argentina in 1951, Sakai, a self-taught painter, dedicated himself to the visual arts. He saw in his artwork—as in himself—a unification of Eastern and Western elements. His first works were geometric in style, reflecting the pivotal influence of Argentina’s Concrete Art Movement.

#kazuyasakai