Jonathan VanDyke's Gloved Impediment installation at the "boutique" gallery HQ turns the tiny space into a plumbing paint machine. A canvas drape covers two-thirds of the walls, and protruding at various points are plastic tubes spewing paint that subsequently drip directly against and down on the cloth surface. An unseen irrigation system behind the canvas appears to randomly release liquid paint at varyingly slow but constant rates that color the drape, leaving trails that resemble Crayola fluid expunged from a living organism.
Two planks about seven feet from the ground also extend through the canvas, while below a gray carpet - also getting stained - covers the floor. On opening night, these troughs were used as part of a durational performance in which two men wearing white shirts and reading blank newspapers sat directly beneath the planks, while paint dripped onto them for two and a half hours. Willing or unwilling, they too became one with the work.
Citing the abstract expressionists and action painters before him, VanDyke extends the dialogue by creating working environments that literally pay homage to the artist's predecessors, whereby a tangible element, more domestic than architectural, invades the medium. As the artist states, "I favor both the painting on the museum wall and the muck on the floor." Minimal in comparison to his past installations, the system at HQ nonetheless continues a methodology that seems to replicate the biological functions of the human body. Most of all, based on the "bleeding paint'" that conjures an arrowed Saint Sebastian, VanDyke's artwork-as-martyr values the "organism" that is the artist. Whether one associates it with paint, blood, semen, abstract expressionism, martyrdom, or ejaculation, VanDyke proves that a little self-love can go a long way.
Images: Durational Performance for Two Men (2009); Gloved Impediment installation view (2009). Courtesy HQ Gallery.