Modernist Puddle Paintings

Red and Brown Stripped Puddle

Detail of Red and Brown Stripped Puddle

Blue Bubble Puddle

Detail of Blue Bubble Puddle

Double Puddle

Detail of Double Puddle

Posted on: May 5, 2016
Views: 1855


Oil on Canvas

Grayson Mandell

View ProfileConnect

BFA Student

Major: Painting

Graduation Year: 2016

Artist Statement:

Uncertainty is a beautiful feeling. Our own ambivalence attests to an object’s uncontrollable charms. Its beauty may be intense, leaving a lasting impression, or transient and forgotten in a few moments. This is a phenomenological occurrence. Feeling pleasure, disgust, or indecision allows us access to the sacredness we find in some objects.

Many abstract expressionists believed that the understanding of beauty had surpassed all formal aesthetics and thought to use Color Field painting as a means of creating sublime experiences. The irony is that all these artists made work that unified them under a formal aesthetic and the public became desensitized to them. I’m poking fun at this idea of controllable aesthetics by making puddle paintings.

There are two vital parts of my process: exploring the relationship of my body to the surface on which I am working, and understanding the physical qualities of media as they interact with each other. I pour globs of paint and medium onto my surfaces and work back into them before letting them dry. This is a way of building layers as well as adding points in my process where the paint rejects my decision-making. It is important for me to loosen this control in order to see the qualities of paint as they are and not as I want them to be. I stop painting when I feel I have emptied my ambitions toward making a beautiful object.