“[T]he potential for painting will emerge in the conjunctive deconstruction of the three instances that modernist painting has dissociated (the imaginary, the real, and the symbolic).“
Yve-Alain Bois, “Painting: The Task of Mourning”
“We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the ‘ideas’ with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.”
Joan Didion, The White Album
Objects are inevitably images. As we nuance our terminology for reading imagery within artwork, generalities like abstract and realistic begin to lose their meanings. The image, inserted, referenced or transposed, may no longer be easily read, as layers of meanings, contexts and references hover over its surface and rest beneath its layers. Paintings become locations of temporary lodging where different forms of meaning live in longer or shorter stays – paying individual or corporate rates, at the bar, in the suite, or in the unused workout room in the basement.
Concepts that have been applied to the works at hand demand theories and philosophies that impose meanings onto artistic choices – choices that may be purely aesthetic, ideological, or perhaps unknowable. Rather than aligning and juxtaposing artworks by those theories, Paint Hotel seeks to destabilize fixed theoretical and genealogical narratives. The point is not to be anti-theory, but rather to allow for an immediate experience.
Perhaps it is time to accept the verdict that what we are looking at triggers human curiosity with its desire for a story, a moral and a resolution, and to replace these filters of viewing with more neutral filters that release the narrative.
The works in this exhibition explore how we filter the politics of what would be “interesting” for us to know in order to create coherence. They investigate the chasm between trauma and narrative in the space where artists can create works that may in fact “doubt the premises of all the stories.”