The first thing to strike me was the surface. I was in painting storage at The Andy Warhol Museum, standing over Andy Warhol’s 1985 print Truck. I’d always admired Warhol conceptually, but in those few moments, I found a sharp new appreciation for his work. The ink layers in Truck had an intense, floating dimensionality. Looking at them up close felt like hearing a good band for the first time only to find out that they’d been around for decades.
Jessica Beck, The Warhol’s assistant curator, who’d found my work through David Oresic, the director at Silver Eye Center for Photography, invited me to the museum to research for my Exposures series window display. We were looking for links between my work and Warhol’s for Exposures, and I’d found it in three places. The first was in Truck, the second was in The Warhol Store, and the third was in the trash.
My work over the past few years has been about exploring the overlooked, uncurated pieces of our lives. What defines the moments, objects, and experiences that (by design or circumstance) slip under the surface and out of our memories? In 2014, this question in mind, I started painting dumpsters: big, hulking, innocuous objects that exist everywhere, grotesquely colorful, yet they attempt to be invisible. The product we found for the windows plays on this idea of elevated, ubiquitous objects in contemporary art: Coca-Cola novelty products, balloon dog bookends, and pillows in the form of Warhol’s famous banana reference the transformation from refuse to iconic form.
TREASURE/TRASH is my answer to the challenge of creating a dialogue between my work, Warhol’s work, and the store product at the museum. Using the dumpster paintings as a jumping off point, I constructed three new paintings to hang in The Warhol Store’s windows. In a nod to Warhol’s silkscreens, I was inspired to try a new process: painting on translucent polyester instead of canvas. The result is a series of two-sided paintings that transform when seen from outside and inside The Warhol Store.
I’d like to thank Jessica Beck, as well as The Warhol’s Director Eric Shiner, Paul Matarrese, Lori Braszo, and Abby Beddall for all of their help and support throughout this project.
Exposures: TREASURE/TRASH is on view through September 13, 2015.