Without cynicism, these painters stage studio experiences in which one sees acts of painterly lovemaking accumulate over time. By tenderly examining the surfaces of their works, one can reconstruct the painterly decisions, additions, revisions, and erasures that lead to the finished image and thereby reconstruct the narrative by which the artists fall in love with their own work. The painterly pleasure they seek is like the fugitive lover whose loss has to be perpetually risked in order to keep their passion level high, and we, the audience, can experience that pleasure vicariously.
In each and every piece in the show failure has been risked and sometimes encountered. Several of the artists spoke of moments of desperation in the studio when the works felt unsalvageable and almost ended up in the dumpster. In each case the next studio decision allowed the artists to become re-enraptured and let these experiments take on a public life forever in the artists’ official output. Every artwork is the result of a series of decisions, but this mode of painting lets the process of one decision after another remain visible, and for those of us that love artist processes and cherish even the illusion of being with them in their studios, such paintings are like watching a romance, where the outcome remains uncertain until the very last moments.