The Epic and the Puny
Jan 19 – Mar 25 2017
Artists: Lauren Boilini & patty haller
Lauren Boilini – Artist Statement
In my current body of work I look at the idea of excess, when images of excess become meaningless and fall into the realm of pattern. This idea of gluttony is reflected in our current culture. We are a hedonistic society, always looking for more until the more we are looking for loses its meaning.
My studio practice has consistently been large scale, mural-sized oil paintings, though I often work directly on the wall exploring painting as installation. The dimension of my work relates to the size of the human body and the potential for painting to physically overwhelm the viewer. I work directly on the wall as I experiment closely with the architecture making paintings that engage floor to ceiling.
Research, reading and exploration are vital to my studio practice, consistently driving my work forward. I continuously seek and study epic narratives, creating my own for each work. I am fascinated with crowds of people converging in one space at one time. I investigate various events and practices that bring large numbers of life forms together to discover how beings interact when driven together in mass quantities. This includes
religious practices, festivals, holidays, political gatherings, orgies, feeding frenzies, stampedes, riots, migrations, etc. Recently I have been drawn to images of battles and duels, where opposing forces fight for the same space. I am interested in what drives us to violence and destruction of life.
This particular body of work features a re-telling of the narrative behind paintings created over the past six years. I have given these works a backstory that explains the origin of their conception, a story told after the fact. These paintings document a fictional island inhabited by only male members of various species and the destruction they have brought.
In 2016 I received a GAP grant through Artist Trust to publish a book of drawings modeled as a graphic novel that develops this narrative. I am happy to say that the book premieres during this ArtsWest exhibition.
Patty Haller – Artist Statement
I’m an analyst who paints. I am constantly searching for new ways to interpret my Pacific Northwest surroundings while considering the history of art.
I’m drawn to complex images of nature, especially forests and beaches. My paintings are full of the small organic shapes of leaves and barnacles, or the traceries of water rivulets and reflections. I delight in the making of these panels and the chance to concentrate on the visual vocabulary of the Pacific Northwest woods and beaches.
It’s not detail that I’m after, but more the need to explore the potential of many shapes interacting. I try to create relationships between elements and activate the spaces in between. The tiny combine to create a small, several smalls combine to larger shapes, and the entire composition must feel balanced. Dripping and rags get me started, then brushes and etching tools. I’ll drill down from large to small, work back up from tiny to aggregated large shapes, glazing and repeating this vertical creation and review process until I am satisfied.
As my skill in building images and moving small elements around has increased, so has my desire to assemble images into very specific compositions inspired by art history. I’m always looking to see how others have handled complexity. At first the abstract expressionists were my primary influence, since their overall mark-making and lack of a central focal point seemed pretty consistent with what I saw when I looked into the brambles. I’ve now expanded into other influences that seem at first to have nothing to do with the Puget Sound region. Perhaps my most present ideas come from the Northern Renaissance and modernism. Devotional art, art with centralized characters and symmetry, but also ambiguous space, modern color theory and creative use of materials inspire me.
Some of the paintings in The Epic and the Puny incorporate copper, through conventional leafing and by including copper hardware. Rembrandt painted on copper. But recasting that into my Pacific NW surroundings, I want to acknowledge the industrial history of our forests and of Puget Sound. The combination of water, tides and copper screws evokes that for me. I love the mark-making of Albrecht Durer. Etching into oil paint with my devotional images of NW forest floors allows me to think about what patrons might have felt praying in front of altarpieces in the 1500s, but also what I experience hiking on Mount Rainier.
This back and forth of study and creation, of looking hard then going into my imagination, is the core of my life as an artist, and I am grateful to share this with you.