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Parallel & Simultaneous: Ptolemy Anderson Puts Weights in his Canvases
by Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer







Portrait of Cosmo / Piss on Mt. Whitney. (2010)

Ptolemy Anderson sends us postcards from the domestic familiar, mundane, close-at-hand, environmental, routine, banal-but-vital daily sphere of contact and lived experience.

Splayed Book with Cracked Spine / Juggle Four Balls for Four Minutes. (2009)

These are small paintings painted at home,

one-a-day in a cumulative and repetitive calendar practice.

Breakfast on the Balcony / Run a Six Minute Mile. (2009)

That’s the first part.

Then there are performances, actions, tasks, and directives of simple, doable, plausible, difficult, unlikely, implausible, ambitious, impossible, and epic proportions—either performed live or unwitnessed (action that exists as language).

East Living Room Wall Excerpt, Displaced / Discover Source of All Dark Matter. (2010)

Painting (noun, image-object) and performance (verb, command to self)

are of one and the same piece.

The division is internal and inseparable, co-dependant.

Socks and Bras / Lose My Car Keys (Not on Purpose). (2010)

Pieceness lies in the titles.

More specifically, it lies in the crucial slash that

scores and fuses the two (opposed? juxtaposed? related?) halves.

Her Two Pet Rats, White and Spotted / High-Five Garry Shandling. (2009)

The forward slash is an and and/or an or.

It organizes dividend over divisor—material over action, presence over absence—

in a mathematical relation, without implementing a hierarchy.

Ptolemy Anderson, Day 6...., 2010
Sam Wolf, Day 6 / Write Thomas Pynchon a Fan Letter. (2010)

The mathematical relation ends up formulating a puzzle, a game of charting connectivity (positing micro-narratives) and bridging apparent discrepancies.

The slash is a raised platform, a drawbridge between two continents.

Shower with Head / Finally Have a Flying Dream (On Purpose). (2011)

PS: Anderson puts weights in his canvases.

He lines the inner perimeter of the stretcher bars with dense washers;

calculated heaviness counteracting the manual smallness of his paintings.

It might be a strength-building tactic: he paints free-standing, canvas and paint in left hand and brush in the right.

Bills #6 / Convince JJ Abrams to Rescind the Lost Finale. (2009)

Like those tricky soda cans with heavier than normal bottoms, there is the visceral, subliminal implication that there is always more yet left to drink.

Painting of To-Do List / Paint over Painting of To-Do List. (2010)


- Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer



Posted by Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer on 11/29/10

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