Continuing with the Antennas of the Race series, we were fortunate to catch up with two sets of artists who will be participating in Nurture's first ever Bushwick Biennal which opens on Saturday, June 6th--an exhibition that commerates young, emerging artists in perhaps the most purist spirit. In addition to Nurture, the Bushwick Biennal will be on view at Pocket Utopia, English Kills, and Grace exhibitions.
Our first group of artists in conversation is Rahul AlexanderRahul Alexander and Jaclyn Conley. Alexander's work is best characterized as multi-media paintings that utilize found imagery and patterns that suggest that use a sense of nostalgia to suggest the ideals of the future. Conley works in painting, drawing and sculpture to transform the body into complicated compositions that touch upon the collective memory of the viewer.
Jaclyn Conley, No Fingernails Left, oil on canvas, 48x60", 2008
So you’re a painter, I’d like to know what drives you to work in such a classical medium.
I don’t think I choose paint because of a classical nature just as I wouldn’t choose a material because it seemed innovative. I do appreciate the history of the medium especially when I think outside of a linear progression; I look at equal amounts of new and old art. The dense history of imagery and painting resurfaces in all work, though maybe most obviously when it is the same media. For me these links are usually unintended. I like that a work can change depending on the context, particularly of time; that, in a way, art becomes a changing, rather than a static, singular object.
I hear often from my interdisciplinary artist partner that it’s so much easier to be a painter because at least when you go into the studio each day you know what you’re getting in to. And there’s some truth in that. Limiting myself generally to oil paint, there is a familiarity and it becomes a framework for thinking and acting. I was given pencils and crayons and since then I kept seeking materials that improved on the qualities I liked: versatility of color and mark, a very basic, forgiving and completely independent process and a visible history of an object’s making.