Paint Objects
Greg Kucera Gallery
October 4 – November 10, 2012

This exhibit began with my explorations of the physical qualities of acrylic paint as both liquid and solid. The objects on display here blur the line between painting and sculpture, while inviting questions about representation and abstraction, about formal issues like color and surface, and about how paint changes over time.

Each of these pieces emerged from some type of experiment with color, materials, or processes. More than 90 color tests went into their creation, and thus into the expansion of my earlier work's limited palette. New tools have had an impact, too. The use of a handsaw slowed my process of making these objects, and the saw left a trace of its own. The rectilinear forms and grids that marked my earlier work have transformed into more organic shapes. Blocks sag and flare, layers bulge, planks shrink and settle into curves — it's as if the grids themselves have relaxed.

For me, though, the beating heart of this exhibit — what took me by surprise as I prepared the pieces in the Layered and Cut to Fit series — is a renewal in my appreciation for the sheer beauty of the paint.

If other pieces here are beautiful as well, they've earned their keep, so to speak. The works in the Folded Paintings series are pure paint, but they simulate the properties of fabric and look like blankets, quilts, and tablecloths. As such, they point to the world of hearth and home, to the domain of crafts. But these paradoxical painting/sculptural hybrids also hold a passport to the world of art. Likewise the planks, waferboards, and blocks — which simulate wood — speak to themes of environmental destruction, but in the language of art history.

For some time now, paint skins have been the raw material of my work, as they were for many of the objects shown here. But now the paint skins have begun to assert their autonomy. They demand a place of their own. They are no longer willing to serve as a mere resource to be shaped into logs. They are no longer a guilty pleasure to be savored in the privacy of my studio, confined there by my reservations about violating enshrined taboos, about releasing them undisguised and putting their dumb, empty, easy, unjustifiable beauty on display. Thus the Layered and Cut to Fit works are here for one reason: I can't bear to keep their beauty under wraps.

Margie Livingston
September 2012

Photos: Richard Nicol
Supported in part by a 4Culture Individual Artist Project Grant and a CityArtist Project grant from the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
4Culture and the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture