Richard Aldrich, Paul Cowan, Cheryl Donegan, Noam Rappaport, Patricia Treib, Benjamin Valenza
Curated by Erik Lindman
I do not want to prove a point with this exhibition. The selection of works was made primarily by the artists who produced them. I selected the artists based upon their projected affinity with my own attitude towards production. Many of these relationships have personal qualities which may not be visible to anyone but myself.
My experience has revealed a paradoxical relationship between the accessibility of ideas to an audience and the private nature of their relationships. These works may tangentially explicate each other, as well as point towards general themes about art-making today. More important to me, however, is a point I didn't explicitly discuss with any of the artists prior to this exhibition: that of an essential necessity towards the production of art within a framework of self-awareness.
One could say that these compositions aim at the same goals as Barnett Newman's paintings, albeit mindful of the failures of Newman's works. The idea of myth: has painting itself has become the myth? The sublime: does one have to feel terror at the unknowable to access the beautiful, or can one also laugh? Is the success of the search for what to paint contingent upon previous artistic tradition? Does one have to 'start over'?
The title comes from Thomas Aquinas, who in the face of actual religious experience declared of his lifetime of theological theorising, 'All I have written is straw'. The works in this exhibition address the above questions better than I can in words.
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