Art for Humans and Good Faith Space are pleased to announce “HOME SHOW #1,” an exhibit of paintings by Astoria, Oregon artist Paul McLean. The show will feature artwork from McLean’s 4D VyNIL series, completed between 2017-18 in Brooklyn, New York. The vinyl paintings on canvas, wood panel, paper and vinyl records will be installed in the artist’s Astoria home, for viewing on Saturdays November 24 and December 1, from 1-5PM. Light refreshments will be served.
Paul McLean has been a professional artist for thirty-five years. He has exhibited in galleries, museums, educational and cultural institutions, arts foundations and alternative art spaces. McLean has served as Lead Artist for art collectives and participated in many multidisciplinary creative collaborations. His art craft extends to camera- and computer-based production for still and moving images and printed matter plus online graphics. McLean has maintained an internet-based platform (Art for Humans) since the late 1990s, and has been an early adopter of digital processes throughout his career. McLean has given numerous lectures, artist talks, contributed in panel discussions, published texts, and been the subject of art press features. He hosted art talk radio programs in Santa Fe and Nashville. His theoretical focus is 4th dimensional art and systems. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA), holds Masters degrees in Fine Arts and Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University and the Drucker School. McLean is currently undertaking doctoral work commenced at the European Graduate School in 2010. The paintings in “HOME SHOW #1” are thesis art for the artist’s doctorate candidacy. McLean was born in Beckley, West Virginia. He and his family recently relocated to Astoria from Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY.
PAUL MCLEAN’S CURRICULUM VITAE > https://www.ox4dafh.com/pjm-cv/
“HOME SHOW #1” LOCATION > 725 11th Street / Astoria, OR / 97103
To contact the artist, phone 615.491.7285 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also RSVP to Lauren at (916) 206-6564 or email email@example.com.
Gallery One > HOME SHOW series #1-49
I am composing what follows during Mercury Retrograde. I have a head cold. I recently quit smoking. If the text fails, and is incomprehensible, I attribute that failure at least in part to these conditions and circumstances, and beg the readers’ forbearance. As it is, the text certainly lacks a focus beyond the loose idea of Home, and the event that is slated for the next two weekends, “HOME SHOW.” The narrative loops in several temporal and spatial zones. The illustrations perhaps are meant to tie the author’s ideas together, but potentially add to the readers’ confusion. Well, at least the weather has been nice!
CONTEXT (Speculative Artist Statement)
I’m operating on instinct here. That’s the big takeaway. It’s taken a few months - meaning, nearly a year - to get a handle on the Valubl Project, as it is manifesting, or emerging, and whatnot. Our relocation from Bushwick to Astoria [OR], and the manner of that intranational migration’s unfolding, have in certain aspects exposed a rather magical nature within the progression of events. Magic is a blending substance. I think this is especially true, given the historical moment. The nicely ordered sequence [LoL, in retrospect] of our arrival/moving into the Astoria house, the fast-paced but organic acquisition of new relationships, fostering an incremental integration into this vibrant community… I’ve only partially projected these matters into social media channels. The narrative, the adventure, is happening outside the sharing networks, I suppose because I am being protective over it, or at least reserved about it. Although I am I would say transmitting enough of it in code, as a form of poetic fiction, narrowly dispersed. What is the strategy, if that is the tactic? It’s a function of being done with the current mode of discourse, the mandatory fixations, and the saturating quality of all-directional messaging that predominate most through-puts. I mean, I’m certainly not beyond a good rant, but I also realize the efficacy of public chatter at this point is minimal. To pursue healthy, democratic activities outside of the catastrophic miasma engulfing the “world,” the “country,” the “people,” is to do so absent the expectation of attention, openness, receptivity and with a realistic assessment of resource availability. Art, in this context, is a Chimera.
The transitional or interstitial situation of our Astoria house at 725 11th presents an excellent opportunity to install and exhibit the first two phases of the 4D VyNIL paintings in a residential, domestic structure. A house like those I grew up in, that my granny and aunties occupied. My “exhibit design” is inspired by foggy memories of those relatives’ homes, or rather, of my feelings about those places, as they exist in my memory, now. Who knows how much any of my recall is real. It’s ghosts, memories & shades of memories. I should mention that the HOME SHOW program is also linked to the revival of an AFH social media platform, coinciding with the production of the 4D VyNIL series. (Anecdotally) we noticed that posting pictures of folks collecting the new pieces, hanging them in their offices or homes, attracted a bunch of “LIKE” and “LOVE” and “WOW” clicks from the AFH virtual community! I guess that trend registered somewhere in the noodle, and helped activate the conceptual machinery that eventually builds a quasi-orthodox artsy exposition, like HOME SHOW.
The weird thing is the Astoria house and the vinyls seem to have been fitted for one another, which is odd because the paintings were executed in Brooklyn in the AFH Studios in Williamsburg and transported to yonder Astoria (Oregon, not Queens). Prior to our arrival, I had only seen the house through JPEGs and during a couple of cursory walk-throughs with our awesome landlord Tad.
For perspective > In the past, I’ve worked from intricately detailed exhibit schematics for installations in galleries and institutions. That’s not a description of our “Home Show #1” modus operandi at all, though by all appearances it may as well have been. More or less, I have enough wall space to hang every art work - a rarity. If this were a fictional narrative, I would say we have an anomalous premise, possibly suggestive of unbound precognition or prefiguration, or as a Celt would put it, Second Sight. Aggregating these impressions I’m outlining, to frame this particular, original Valubl enterprise in its initial stage as anything other than dreamy is starch. I’d be happy to pretend that converting our new place into a temporary gallery space was the plan all along, but that’s not true. What is true is there is no plan, as such. [From The Way of the Gun (in clip ~ :50) > Parker: I think a plan is just a list of things that don't happen.] Still, in a parallel formula or zone, maybe as an unconscious mechanism or subliminal function, yes, Home Show #1 is the stuff of Destiny.
LOGISTICS (Formal Analysis)
Our new home is a hundred+ year-old former Presbyterian rectory, and features a first floor with a spacious room for entertainment and a dining room, a large kitchen and hutch and a half bathroom. The second floor contains bedrooms, bathrooms and lots of fixed storage. There is an attic and a basement, both of which have good features. The attic has views of the Columbia River and downtown Astoria, and the basement is big and rigged for light industry, plus more storage. Given the history of our home, what little we know of it, we are still safe in our assessment that the architecture was never specifically dedicated to the exhibition of art, and definitely not contemporary art, as such. Yet, the structure does offer some allowances for the purpose of fine art display, such as the hanger ledges in the upper moldings of the living room. Previous tenants had used various types of hanging devices in wall surfaces; however, we don’t know exactly what they exhibited. To summarize, we have traces of the artifacts that previous occupants placed throughout the building, but nothing concrete.
Notation: A “brick and mortar” construct juxtaposes permanence and the temporary simultaneously, and therefore is inherently 4D. Adding virtuality to the structure in a simulated present (a presence) only enhances the dimensionist quality of the Art Home, or any other metaphorical kind of domicile. The “Home Show #1” project has me thinking about the myriad projects that artists have undertaken in which home is a central component. Artists show in homes when other exhibition avenues are inaccessible for whatever reasons. For some artists, home itself is the subject, and for others the artist at home is the subject. The links between painting and sculpture and residential architecture are ancient, if one considers a cave naturally architectonic. But how relevant is home to art, now? The ratio of people able to own homes is fast diminishing. The loss of the dream of a family home is contiguous with the loss of the dream of family. And remember the significance of the “Home Page?” What does that term signify in the so-called post-internet era? Should we accept that a virtual home is simply a figure of speech?
The castle as “big house” incorporates the notion of domesticated art utilized for the arc of civilization with its identified property (e.g., Windsor Castle). Art inside the house rationalizes the property itself. Just as the museum rationalizes the civilization. In America we have cultivated tremendous diversity for art within buildings, as a direct consequence of free speech. Any citizen can show whatever she likes within the confines of her property, regardless of standards of taste or decency, and nobody can do a damn thing about it! Is this a good or bad thing? Well, I would argue the conversation about whether it’s a good or bad thing is a good thing! The binary critique (good/bad) is effectually and permanently discredited, and moving forward, in the 4D perceptual field, the alternatives (to good/bad) and range of critical categories are infinite. [MILO: So… inside/ outside the four walls of the sure thing/ we will all have to negotiate for asylum/ & navigate the ravages unleashed upon us/ in every direction. / The distinction between windows and mirrors will blur. ]
Is there a unified or definitive concept of Home today?
“HOME” is a subject that has been a consistent driver in my work, research and theory. I think the same is true for most artists. Nowadays, the corrosion of domestic security for almost everyone is the common thread shared by the great proportion of mankind. The mind of home and family in the West is dominated since the 20th Century by psychology and its affiliates sociology and anthropology. These disciplines, if that is what they are, usurped the territory from religion, but also the various mandates of formal relations delivered via economic, political, social, tribal/geographic constituency. It is, however, patently insufficient to blame the now-ancient campaign of dislocation and disconnection on these recent soft-target newbies, regardless of their contributions to world suffering.
To say that nearly nowhere and for only the few is home life in its dimensional aspects stable, secure, safe. How this scenario came to pass is a question endlessly pondered, but rarely with any viable solutions entertained, and nearly never are culprits properly identified by name, location and occupation, in conjunction with intentions of thorough and properly severe justice rendered.
Art and artists are certainly engaged with the phenomenon, but it is difficult to see how the artistic is any better a platform for confronting the many crises attaching to home than public policy, journalism, academia, media and so on. Art, due to obvious conflicts of interest, often must recuse itself from the forum. I refuse the route of capitulation, because I have not lost hope in the anonymous, untitled artistic urge to contradict the destructive and enslaving capacity in humankind, most poignantly expressed in the act of creating art, despite environmental madness of all descriptions and traps of conscription at every turn. If there is apparently no home possible anymore I will paint paintings that the Universe will insist be provided a home.
HOME is central to some of the big global, cultural, economic and political issues of our day, such as immigration, climate change, gender (roles), identity, inequality, occupation and mass destruction. The “art world” exists, at least at its pinnacle, on an axis that spans institutions, intermediary zones and the “homes” of collectors. Art migrates from public to private space via market paths, black/white/gray scale. Evidence of art migration is to some extent projected through legacy and new media, as well as through the dedicated communication channels employed by the powerful to do what they do in the spheres in which they operate.
The super rich and powerful tend to maintain multiple homes and procure properties to suit their activities. The connection between home and art is at that level the binding stipulation of property, of ownership, of possession. The nature of class circularity revolves around the proposition that one’s possessions define one, and that one acquires one’s possessions through programmatic action and/or inheritance, and sometimes luck. The 4D VyNIL series is an answer to the question of Home, and in its dimensional qualities activates the conversations I believe are most important about home, about art, about the future of both as embodied in the artist, and projected through his vision. The Home question, particularly as it pertains to art, is then a discussion about survival, one in which I am prepared to engage.
Home, I guess obviously, was the central theme for “HOME01,” a complex  collective exhibit with several phases and multiple performances launched in 2001 at ruby green Contemporary Arts Foundation in Nashville. The first stage of “HOME01” presented a curated expo for Gainesville, FL artists. The curating duties were undertaken in a collaborative spirit, shared among Virginia Cannon, the artists and myself. The program promoted the value of geo-cultural exchange. The second and third phases involved re-hanging the gallery with artwork by the 01 collective. It is difficult to summarize content of “HOME01.” Each participant was invited to undertake and present work that dealt with “home,” in its dimensional conception, and/or as a visceral, experiential phenomenon. The 01 collective consisted of artists, academics, writers, dancers, musicians, architects, scientists, healing arts practitioners, filmmakers, technologists and more. The range of expression and consideration the collective brought to the task was profound.
I think I’ll leave off a comprehensive review of HOME01 for another day, and simply copy a few paragraphs from the proposal submitted to ruby green for the project’s approval. Photo documentation for HOME01 is HERE at AFH Flickr.
Exhibit Concept "Home" is a three-phase exhibit, featuring new and preexisting work by contemporary artists based in Nashville, Gainesville, Florida and New York City, New York. These artists represent a broad range of disciplines, including traditional 2D and 3D object-based media, New Media (Internet, digital media, video and audio), architecture, graphic design, performance and installation media. Some will contribute elements to the exhibit, which might be described as found objects. These elements will further elucidate the exhibit concept.
The exhibit structure will consist of a three-phase installation and four Live Art events. The installation will change each week, in order to provide the artwork exhibited with adequate presentation space and focus, and to encourage viewers to return to the exhibit more than once. The Live Events will consist of lectures, multi-media presentations, performances and a fashion show. These events will serve as artists' receptions, entertainment and fundraising opportunities.
The concept for the exhibit is "Home". Each participating artist will produce new or pre-existing work, which will explore some aspect of this concept. The correlation of the work to the concept will be overt and direct in some cases, and more subjective and oblique in others. The interpretive diversity within the exhibited collection is a function of the freedom of vision afforded the participating artists and the conceptual agenda of the curator.
For an expanded textual description of HOME01, click on the title block (the hot link that says “Show more” below the set title). There you’ll find the general project outline, timeline of events, list of participants and more conceptual description, plus acknowledgements, attributions, etc. Holy cow. When I reviewed that doc, I was blown away by the ambition of this program, the quality of the creatives involved, the diversity of work shown and shared, and the complexity of the production machinery. I do want to drill down into that as a project, since the critical coverage I believe HOME01 warranted did not really exist for us, and hardly anywhere at the time. I submit that HOME01 represents an important episode in a lost history for hybrid arts post-y2k. Consider that the exhibit cycle + its Live Art Events happened on an accelerated timeline, and was facilitated in large measure through the fluid collective network we called 01. The logistics of transporting the Gainesville artists’ work to Nashville, installing it and the prodigious media hardware utilized throughout the space and project, maintaining the complicated new media on display, coordinating performances and the openings, the receptions, the happenings, plus more, more, more. There was a lot of printed matter, on the walls, for invitations, for press. We furnished ruby green with cool furniture for a week. Garth Williams demonstrated the Myriad, still in my mind the baddest-ass Flash-based net.art ever created. Erin Hewgley in a school girl costume running a chain saw through couches and basically a complete two-part family living room suite, LIVE! We documented the hell out of it all, but compared to what it was like to be there? Pictures and videos only show so much. It was phenomenal. Really.