Thursday, February 14, 2013

Signing the thing

I'm very much in love with the shoulders of my painting.  The left side is prolly better than the right, but they're different, and like different children, you love them each in their own way.

I also like the openness between the shoulders and the head.  In a real world, and in most of my paintings, there's a neck, and a shirt, and a collar, and a tie.  The fact that these seem unimportant has a lot to do, I'm thinking, with the inversion of the image.

All of which brings me to my current puzzle:  where to sign the thing.  Check this Damien Hirst painting out ...
Correction:  It's a print, not a painting.  Also, and this is important:  The outer portions of the print are black, which disappears against the TYOMP background.  Click it to see what it really looks like.  Regardless, Blake Gopnik has a couple of things to say on the Daily Beast ...

Hirst’s simple instruction-set – never repeat a color; place the spots one spot’s-width apart – does in fact yield surprising perceptual dividends, if you spend the time looking. 

Me?  I'm generally fond of Hirst's dot paintings.  I went to all three Gagosian galleries when they had their worldwide Hirst spot exhibition.  And I agree that there were 'surprising perceptual dividends, if you spend the time looking.'

Some, obviously, are better than others.

Then Gopnik gets down to business ...

On the other hand, it may be more interesting to see the series as a riff on market dynamics – as much about how the woodcuts sell as about what they look like. Hirst’s signature may be the deciding factor in any reading: The only function it plays, on the surface of the prints – there are 48 of each image – is to tie each one to the history of unique, certified, hand-made (or hand-signed) commodities. The messy signature actually detracts and distracts from a formalist reading of these otherwise pristine works.  But then, plenty of rigorous formalists, including Barnett Newman, also defaced their works by signing the front. Does that make their paintings comments on the market, or sell-outs to it?

Pretty interesting, I must say.  Because that signature does really scrape a bit in such an otherwise formal visual environment.  That said, I'm gonna sign the thing in my usual manner:  take a tube of pthalo green paint and write my initials, the month, and the year.  The question becomes how to sign Keynes in a manner pleasing to the eye.

The cop-out is to rotate the painting and sign it sideways along the margin.  But this always looks like shit.  Alternatively, I could sign it in the lower right corner, amidst that sea of white.  Which will also look like shit, although packing the thing with annotations will mitigate the glare to some degree.

I think I'm gonna sign it in the upper right.  Perhaps with the initials on one line and the date below it.  Just kind of fold it in there.


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