Trudy Benson. Spooky Action at a Distance

18 May 2016 – 18 Jun 2016

Regular opening hours

12:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 17:00

Half Gallery

New York
New York, United States


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What's the difference between Bad Paintings versus Abstract Illusionism?


Bad Painting was an intentional disrespect of painting trends. Abstract Illusionism has a basis in sincerity, so much so that a lot of the artists weren't taken seriously. Abstract Illusionism was painting with a very specific set of devices: dropped shadow under a thickly painting floating brush stroke, or a sprayed halo around, but really under a painted shape. I think Bad Painting involves knowing what's cool in painting and bringing bad taste into the same painting in a chopped and screwed aesthetic. There's a mixture of high and low to Bad Painting. In Abstract Illusionism, I believe painters like Jack Reilly and Michael Gallagher had a very specific vision that was very sincere. This distance from the work that characterized Bad Painting isn't there with Abstract Illusionism. I think my work has evidence of influence from both movements. I like to think about bad 90s coffee shop graphic design, spirals and cartoon flames. Elizabeth Murray is an artist who I think stood with one foot in each movement. (I don't think her work is irreverent in any way, and I don't like to think about my own work as being irreverent or ironic either.)

Where is the show title from?

The exhibition title comes from quantum physics. Spooky action at a distance is basically the idea that an object can be moved or changed without being physically touched. I like this concept in regards to painting because I think about painting as a series of layers, which never really touch, but influence each other. In my paintings there is no wet-onto-wet painting, and there are a few periods during creation when the work totally stops. The painting has to dry between layers. The result of the intuitively additive process is usually that the layers are informed by each other but not totally aware of each other. There is almost the feeling of a few different styles of painting in one work.

A few new works were inspired by Robert Breer?

I liked the Robert Breer abstract films for the moments when drawing changed into movement. The inbetween frames are actually very elegant drawings. The pace and timing of the film makes these moments so special. The linework has a quality that stays with you after the film is over. I liked the idea of painting in terms of sequence and time. I always think about my paintings as explicit about process and sequence of paint application. Through surface, even areas that are painted over reveal a series of actions. Flamma 2, Inbetweens, and Iris are probably the most obviously influenced by the Breer films.


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Exhibiting artists

Trudy Benson


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