A Conversation

March 22, 2017, 9:39am

A Conversation: Stanley Whitney

Arthur Peña: We first met in 2011 while I was at RISD and what stuck with me from that meeting was a story of how your father wasn’t allowed in museums because they were still segregated. How I remember the rest of the story is you saying that when you did have your first museum show you wanted to make paintings big enough that they wouldn’t fit through the door and the museum would have to work to get them in. Did I remember that right?

Stanley Whitney: Well it’s true that my father couldn’t go in to the Philadelphia Museum. Jack Whitten calls those years the “American Apartheid.” I have lots of stories of paintings not fitting through doors but I don’t think it’s exactly those circumstances. Although, I might have mentioned something like that. It could have been related to a story from around 2006 when my dealer José Freire came to me and asked me to make the biggest work I could make to take to Basel to try and make things happen because he kept putting me in shows and no one was paying me any mind. So I made the biggest painting I could make in my studio, 96 x 96 in., and to get it out we had to cut it in half to get it through the door. We showed it on a big expensive wall and it didn’t sell.


FOCUS: Stanley Whitney at The Modern in Fort Worth, TX

Listed under: Interview

March 21, 2014, 9:17am

A Conversation: Dennis Congdon

Painting can be held as the grand reconciliation of time and history that it is built to be. Dennis Congdon takes this approach as a highly held belief, an admiration of sorts for what image, color and surface can offer; a meandering pile of faded thoughts and sun bleached inspiration. Congdon’s work strikes me as coming from a place that only hind sight can provide. A certain, “Hey, pal, I haven’t seen it all but I’ve seen enough to know that there’s gotta be more to all of this.” A long vision is at play here. Yes, things fall apart but only after they had come together. Congdon’s paintings border this celebration, dancing around fluorescent flames, caressing not what was lost but left behind. His work presents us with a place that we may not know but will eventually have to welcome. Like it or not. – Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor


Dennis Congdon | Visuvi, Flashe & enamel on canvas, 94”x107", 2013

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March 13, 2014, 7:09pm

A Conversation: Raychael Stine

Something to consider: How does Painting handle love? Or better yet, can a painting be infused with love? Raychael Stine (NAP #78) believes that a painting that comes from a place of love can serve a greater function beyond an innocuous object. Painting can be used to cope and sometimes that coping deals with issues that pertain to love. I don’t remember the last time someone used the “L” word when speaking about their practice as it may come off as trite. But at the same time are we so cynical not to believe that painting and love do not go hand in hand? Stine pushes beyond these initial queries to a place where life, and love, is reaffirmed through the act of painting. - Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor


Raychael Stine | Vision 4, 2012. Oil and acrylic on canvas, post card, 17 x 13 in.

Listed under: Interview

October 15, 2013, 8:00am

A CONVERSATION: JAY STUCKEY AT ANAT EBGI

It was hard looking at Stuckey’s paintings in his Highland Park studio and come to terms with the visual noise and muzzled whispers in the work. The paintings are horrible in their rampant tramping of imagery and id, intriguing for the same reasons; washed out and fuzzy details similar to staring at static snow on a television. Word association gets me to the vinyl copy of Television’s album Marquee Moon that hadn’t left the record player since I arrived at Stuckey’s LA apartment. Lyrics come to mind:

I spoke to a man down at the tracks

And I asked him how he don't go mad

He said "Look here junior, don't you be so happy

And for Heaven's sake, don't you be so sad"

Stuckey is the man down at the tracks and it is you/me who is asked to balance ourselves otherwise we will not make it through the abrupt narratives in front of us. The newest works offer a visual reference for the clouded mind. “Clouded” also points to Stuckey’s use of white, used not to obfuscate but rather to steady us the way ones foot must hover over the brakes while driving through dense fog, attention heightened.  In preparation for his solo show PRIMA MATERIA at Anat Ebgi in Culver City, Stuckey and I had a conversation. Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor

Listed under: Interview