Still From Operator Error, 2011

To take something too far with either under or over exertion is non fullfilment of expectation. In the sense of art making, it is knowing when to stop or when to keep going that is the artists challenge. It is sometimes an easy decision to know when a work is finished, other times there is no solution, and a work remains unfinished or simply dies.
I began Blue Release with the intention that it was to be a pièce de résistance. My attempt to make it so, came after Red Release, which happened by chance but is quite a successful painting in my opinion. My thought was that if I record myself making a Blue Release in the same manner I remembered making Red Release,  I would have documentation of the choreography of success.  I could then duplicate the steps and make another successful painting based on the recorded movements.
I have never filmed myself painting before. I made Blue Release and filmed Operator Error simultaneously, and during the process,  I was unsure of what to do next on the painting aspect, and I was always questioning if I had done enough. Normally I don’t have trouble making decisions in the studio. I felt that since I was recording the making of this painting, there had to be more going on. The fact that the camera was present had everything to do with my second guessing, because I was really aware of being watched.  In the video, I act very cautious because I believe that the camera is capturing the secretes to my future successes.

Blue Release ended up not working very well as a painting, I would say it was over worked. When the piece was dry, I even went back in several weeks later and tried yet again to salvage the work by painting on top of it.  These efforts did not yield a successful painting either. I see the video Operator Error as a documentation of disappointment.

It is impossible to recreate the choreography in Operator Error because the movement is chaotic and frankly, I do not have the desire to recreate it.  To my surprise, Operator Error, did document a solution to my painting questions at the time. It took seven months to see the progression, but it is only looking back on the video now,  that I see the next step was right under my nose.  The graceful choreography of my practice is not of interest,  because it does not exist. Grace never appears and probably  never will in the making of my work. It is the battle with material in the making of Blue Release that is most exciting to me. I grapple with the plastic drop cloth I use to apply paint on to the canvas. The continual struggle with this material is what lead me to forgo paint all together and focus on plastic itself, a material I am using now to make what I consider exceeding my expectations.


Blue Release
Acrylic on canvas 2011 96” x 36”

dickensonmelissa2cca.jpg      dickensonmelissa3cca.jpg

 UntitledDropCloths                                               Untitled Yellow and Black
Acrylic and Plastic 72” x 96” 2011                       yellow and black garbage bags 72” x 96” 2011


Untitled Black Bags

Acrylic and Black garbage bags 72” x 96” 2011

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