Showing posts with label Franklin Evans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Franklin Evans. Show all posts

10 October 2010

MoMA - PS1: Franklin Evans

After reveling in watching a few others being playful, including a young girl and a group of 20-somethings running around in a frenzy, bouncing yoga balls, I clambered up the PS1 front steps and into the museum entrance. Feeling inspired, I asked the desk attendant if PS1 accepts proposals - still continuing to hope that she did not smile and shake her head no - as I bought a ticket and disappeared into the hallways of the former public school building. The first room I stumbled into absolutely floored me. Trust me, this is not a bad pun. The artist, Franklin Evans had covered floor, ceiling and walls in a labyrinthine pattern of tape, notebook paper and thread.

Franklin Evans     

I could not help but take my shoes off when I walked into Franklin Evans's painting. It was like walking into someone's memory unraveling itself in still time. A chromatic masterpiece of tape, printouts and notebook paper, Evans's walk-in painting evokes a deconstructionist palimpsest space with the celebratory pomp of Constructivism. While easily conducive to hours of scrutinizing his writing, his small, pixel-based watercolors, which read like mini-landscapes on ruled notebook paper, and old printouts of critical reviews of his work, the work as a whole presents a formidable trompe l'oeil. Strips of color dance around the PS1 room his 3D painting inhabits: they take over the parquet floors, the white walls and even the ceiling, slicing their way through recursively. Some hang precariously, ready to snap off their axis and curl up on the floor. I wanted to use it as meditation space, but I am not sure if that is what the artist had in mind.

Artists Speak interviewed Evans about his work:

AS: You are primarily a painter. What made you create an environment you can walk into?

FE: Paint is one of the primary materials I am working with and with Painting historically.  The walk-in aspect is linked both to an installation space composed of a traditionally flat medium and to the interior painting space that exists in what I perceive as a multi-dimensional brain.  I hope the installation reads as thinking painting that exists as object, dissolution of object and peripheral information (history, criticality, process, failures) that are part of making things.

AS: Work/Play/Space - where did this exhibition name come from and how does it relate to your work? I know that space is an important concept for you.

FE: Workplayspace is akin to timecompressionmachine whereby dissimilar elements are contextualized by one another, equal and unequal parts the seriousness of work, the free-for-all of play and the multidimensional of space (implying a non-linear time), space that is both literally and informed by past and future space.

AS: Are Marc Chagall and Frank Stella two of your influences? How have they influenced your work?

FE: Chagall not at all.  Although I recently saw an amazing Chagall in Prague.  Stella, quite a lot.  In particular, Stella predetermined way of working in the Black Paintings and in his cosmologic spiraling forms of recent wall reliefs.

AS: In reference to freakout, the Jeff Bailey gallery press release describes your paintings as both "celebratory and psychedelic." What kind of planning goes into achieving these effects? What struck me about your PS1 walk-in environment was the simultaneous unity and chaos of the piece. It seemed to be in process. I almost wanted to pick up the threads on the ground and start adding to it myself. At the same time, there was a logic I did not want to disrupt.

FE: I appreciate that you did not physically disrupt the allusion to my working process.  It is almost enough that you wanted to think about it and possibly take away from it to your own practice.  The planning in my current work is quite active now.  In “freakout” days, I was process oriented but only in the allowance for chance elements to watercolor on paper.  Now I have many processes that I juxtapose in the hope that cross-contamination will lead to new processes (painted tape on wall grounds infecting the reframing of foundational viewing of art exhibitions, etc.)  It is definitely not a free-for-all.  For example, my floor piece composed of all the press releases from exhibitions I saw last year (extracted of the image) wore during the summer at PS1, particularly during the busy Saturday WarmUp Sessions.  I was away all of August and upon my return, much of the paper had torn and scattered through the installation.  It was exciting initially to see the change, but after a few minutes I read a chaos that didn’t connect to my intent.  Thus I decided to reorder the torn piece back into the initial path but under a protective layer of bubblewrap.  The path return to its initial form and the entropic process was highlighted.

AS: What kinds of collaborations have you participated in the past and what kinds of collaborations do you seek?

FE: I have collaborated performatively with writers and choreographers, both in visual design and in content of the performance.  I have also collaborated as a curator with others.  I look for collaborations that involve ideas that I cannot develop in my isolated practice.  And I hope to stretch the boundaries of my practice through these collaborations.

AS: Tell me more about how you collected material for the PS1 exhibit.

FE: “Timecompressionmachine” came out of the work I started to develop in fall 2008 at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Space Program in DUMBO.  I wanted to use the entire studio as a working laboratory of space, idea, material, architecture.  It was a place as much for isolated reading as it was for exploring materials.  I documented this activity daily with still images for 12 discrete points in which the life of the studio would begin and end because of the know duration of the program (1 year).  Much was open in what I could explore, but it was clear that the studio would only have a 1 year life.  I described the year that in reference to Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking” a coming to terms with the end of a life.  I called it “Component System Sub-System: A Year of Magical Thinking.”  Component was objects like watercolors, wall marks, brushstrokes, books, diaristic notes.  They were arranged into sub-systems, usually wall or extensions from the wall – “turningtime” “treetarget” “friedrichspastfromthefuture”.  And these became the overall system.  This passed onto my solo show in Sep 2009 titled “2008/2009 < 2009/2010” the past always being less than the present (given the assumption of the lens of subjectivity as filter to anything that has occurred in linear measurement of time).  I re-presented some of the elements from “CSSS: A Year of Magical Thinking” but had new architectural consideration in the gallery space and I was addressing more directly ideas of time and duration rather than time and closure.  All this was brought forward to MoMA PS1 where I literally had to compress my working process of nearly 1 year into something that would be built in 3 or 4 weeks.  Moreover, I was compressing one and half years into something that would be show for 5 months.  My hope is that the piece is transporting on multiple levels (literal, fantastical, historic).