The motif is arranged on the floor on top
of a painted cloth or a collection of small decorated panels, which
themselves might later become other paintings. Everything is seen
from above. The painting surface is prepared with a diamond pattern
or a skin of printed fabric. The still life arrangement and the
painting surface are apparatus. These are the things that come before
painting. The painting is the making that scrutinizes and suggests
equivalents in dots and smears of coloured pastes. The picture is
the event that stops short the making because it is already made.
The picture is already made now because the apparatus remains.
I remember Rabo Karabekian’s embarrassment
in Vonnegut’s Bluebeard as his career defining painting
silently shed its ultra modern paint surface in the dark of the
Guggenheim’s storage vaults. And I can relive Henry’s
bathetic anxiety in Stoppard’s The Real Thing as
he strategically selects his Desert Island Discs. And Olivia Curtis’
crushing awkwardness in Lehmann’s Invitation to the Waltz
as she anticipates her first ball. Issue 13 of The Evergreen
Review is where Barry Flanagan found a doorway that opened
up to ‘pataphysics. And it is on the dais at the back of Velazquez’
The Spinners that Titian’s Rape of Europa
becomes the set and players in the theatre conjured and created
by the titular spinners.
These are paintings of small piles of objects.
Things on top of other things.