VyNIL (PHOTOS: Chris Borrok)
You are cordially invited to visit the studio of Paul McLean in Brooklyn, Saturdays February 24 and March 3 from 2-6PM. The open studio sessions offer visitors the opportunity to preview McLean’s new 4D+ vinyl paintings on canvas, panel and paper. Created in series, these paintings represent the first set of four collections that McLean is producing for his doctoral thesis.
Datum Series 1-3 (iPhone photos + Photoshopping by the artist)
Titled “4D VyNIL” the first set of paintings (like the large canvas “Network”) references Internet dynamics, such as data movement and visualization, the archive, the icon and the avatar. In the “Weird/Wired Man” paintings, McLean renders the networked, virtual Self in a patterned and flattened version, levitating in the web. Throughout “4D VyNIL” the artist subtly integrates the actual and the immaterial, a parallax view that toggles between the world of recognizable, touchable things, and the simulation that now threatens to displace our common perceptual conception of the Real. Within this construct we find anomalies and glitches that spawn mutations, animated creatures that populate the dark spaces in massive artificial matrix like ghosts in the thinking, counting machine universe. We realize the imagined scenario is metaphorical, like a reflection of the strange blooms in a bio-lab Petri dish. One is compelled to wonder, “What kind of new personhood are we making?” Is the procedure accidental, experimental or a contrivance beyond regulation? The observer is afforded a modicum of ambivalence, but in the ambiguity lurks catastrophe arising from unforeseen causes. Is this not the danger of new technologies, whether atomic or AI? The “Topo Archipelogos” paintings suggest that the interstices separating concrete and imaginary currently dissolves and recombines in a more complex form from the binary, and the intense process of emergence of this derivative, hybrid form coalesces in a painterly correlate to the camera snapshot.
In “4D VyNIL” the viewer is navigating a course through the array of paintings via the repeating elements and consistent colors, in an activity flow similar to clicking from site to site on the Internet. The paintings’ surfaces eventually take on the quality of an [GU]Interface, but the texture of each piece undermines this comparison, due to subdural variance from one to the next. A superficial viewing promotes the notion that the body of work is approximately uniform, but closer inspection reveals diversity in the layering by which the image is achieved. Ultimately the aesthetic border between 2D and 3D is blurred and the 4D characteristics of the art transits that divide. Content and context subtly intertwine in a woven form that infers infinite, sequential possibility.
While “4D VyNIL” is immersive in its treatment of the Internet as a potent contemporary, phenomenal subject, the paintings themselves are beautiful, even traditional objects. McLean deploys a broad range of techniques and aesthetic strategies that owe much to the innovations of painters that preceded him. The all-over effects of Pollock, the endless lines of Mondrian, the flashy compositions of Davis - to name but a few of McLean’s obvious inspirations - inform his paintings. These artistic citations establish situational resonance for “4D VyNIL” and an argument for the paintings’ relevance. Further, the references encourage a discourse between painting today and, for example, the mode of Impressionism, which can be rehabilitated by prioritizing its optical roots. McLean is emphasizing a conjoining of arts and science that is not bereft of wild color and beautiful pleasure. So, there is time-based common territory available via technics. The decorative in his paintings is akin to the “skin” of a 3D model online. The vinyl paint is key to this aspect of the artist’s programmatic approach here. The intensity of the hues, the mostly matte finish, the sharply defined contours of many of the paintings’ elements, and so on - these fixtures reinforce a direct, visceral interaction between viewer and art. A path by which art can recapture its potency from advertising can be deduced, and this path does not require the reduction of art to a visual lowest common denominator, a lo-res jpeg or print (faux) aesthetique. On the contrary McLean is proposing in “4D VyNIL” that the encounter between art and human has never possessed the psychological and technological complexity it does right now. The argument is that the vehicle of painting, its rectangular presentation field, its physicality and capacity for rich meaning in actuality surpass other media available to us. Simultaneously, painting reconnects us to our ancient selves, since the structural nature of painting is unchanged from Chauvet through the present. Moreover, the artist is empowered in painting to make visible a plausible, desirable future. The artist can, through skill and logic (and love), communicate a triparteid vision through a singular thing, since that Thing additionally constitutes the memorial, and enlivens a current experience. The natural medium for the visionary moment or event that McLean and his paintings connote is both social and individual in the exhibition phase. In the studio, the viewer is closer to the generative phenomena that invigorate the clarified presentation to come. In a sense, connecting with “4D VyNIL” in AFHstudioBK is like dancing with the image while it is still in the projector, before it hits the wall of Plato’s cave.
To close: For myself, vinyl is a curious choice for the medium of McLean’s new work. Vinyl is the stuff that my record collection is made of. That record collection essentially is the soundtrack of my life. Thinking about particular tracks, and albums and the significance of these dear, myriad, wonderful songs, these sounds informing my affair with the world, the universe, and the people and things inhabiting it all, I drift into the inevitable consideration of Time. The artist and his “4D VyNIL” perform to time, as much as they identify the quandary of timeliness in painting: Is the attempt to embody Now in something that has duration a type of madness, especially peculiar to the artist? Yet withal that, make no mistake… The pre- and subtext of Paul McLean’s “4D VyNIL” is excommunication. In this respect the enterprise is vehemently American, and wrought in the unfolding maelstrom of inequity, despair and corruption enveloping that creative gesture - though I doubt anyone would arrive at such a conclusion, while consumed by the act of simply and exclusively looking at these lovely paintings! Maybe that is the point, too.
- MILO SANTINI, Bushwick 2018
- WHERE: 1002 Metropolitan Ave. * Studio #21 * Brooklyn, NY 11211
- WHEN: Saturdays, February 24 & March 3, 2018 * 2-6PM
- CONTACT: 615 491 7285 * firstname.lastname@example.org
- PRE-MARKET PRICING (Please request a price list)
ON PRE-MARKET PRICING
Last Autumn, I invited Misha and Iva to gather a few friends at the studio for a presentation and discussion. We introduced them to the art in the studio and engaged in a wide-ranging, open conversation about their general and personal perceptions about art and culture, production, markets, and more. The point was to begin to determine what this important generation expected of, find interesting and are willing to invest in art. In short we had a focus group, consisting of recent Bates College grads and a sample of other demographics, concentrating on the factors that might affect the art economy that could be compatible with their desires, concerns and capacity. Afterwards, we applied this information to concepts we had been developing over time. I shaped these findings into a pricing program for the "4D VyNIL" series on view Saturdays February 24 and March 3.
At the moment, I don't have formal representation through a gallery or agency, which is why it's possible for me to conduct this experiment. That said, the terms of pricing attached to these new artworks are subject to immediate change at any time, if my circumstances change. I suspect this will occur sooner, rather than later.
The basic equation for the pre-market price point is 1) percentage of facility cost/overhead/time + 2) materials + 30% (of costs 1 + 2) + any additional costs = price. For me wholesale is basically half of retail. Factoring in the pricing applied to my artworks in my most recent retail gallery shows (SLAG, for example priced roughly at $1000 per foot/dimension), these numbers are fairly simple to determine and reflect appropriate market value for my art and this point in my career, relative to sales history and to comparable artist/art in the market. In short, the pre-market price model here is pretty much simple manufacturing/production pricing for market sale/re-sale, minus any distorting market projection. I reserve the right to bundle-price, or otherwise adjust the price to fit the client and her circumstances, purchase history (especially for my art), and so on. I shift any shipping/framing cost to the buyer, but I recommend quality shippers and framers. I can make qualified presentation/installation and preservation recommendations. I generally don't do this stuff myself anymore.
Finally, the "4D VyNIL" array of paintings reflects my interest in making serial art objects that combine to form a "whole" body of work, whose individual pieces are accessible to all budgets. A young person fresh from college may not be able to afford the 8' x 6' entry piece "NETWORK" at the moment, but she or he will find something here that IS affordable on all but a survival budget. If you are on a survival budget, you still can see/experience the art, of course, but I suggest you spend your available money wisely! I've been there!
NOTE: I have been dedicated to develop alternate economies for art, since the late 80's and Freedom Gallery. From my first major collective project, Regional Standard Arts Project in the Santa Fe Railyard in the early 90s through the CO-OP model for Occupy with Art in Huntington, NY to this project, I believe it is important to program community feasibility for art/the artist in the spaces for exchange. That means facilitating the transaction between collector and myself in the spirit of meaningful reciprocity and mutual aid.
4D VyNIL [Pre-Market Price Lists]
1) Basic spreadsheet-style price form for "4D VyNIL" paintings on canvas, wood panel and boxes.
2) Basic spreadsheet-style price form for "4D VyNIL" paintings on archival paper.