Art Lies, Volume 47, Summer 2005 Page: 39
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Angela Fraleigh I always find that a couple of months after I've fin-
ished a painting, I start to draw parallels between it and what I was
reading at that time, as well as what was happening in the world. It
seems crazy, but I think politics and social constructs are actually fil-
tering into my work a lot more now than I allowed in the past. I don't
think that was a conscious decision. I get a lot of my inspiration from
eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature: the politics and the
social constructs that happen within those sources and the parallels
with current issues. Especially after the last election, I've been angry
and feeling hopeless. That has made the work more violent. I'm also
driven by tumultuous gender issues, but such realizations always
come later, you know? They feed the next body of work.
There are elements in my work that are meant to epitomize a cer-
tain ambiguous emotion or relationship. They're not illustrations of
a story or anything like a storyboard. For me, the work is really about
the complications of desire, and how we fit within that and deal with
it on our own. I've only recently started delving into feminism and
feminist theory. I hadn't really explored that before, but realized I
was being irresponsible by not doing so. I think I shied away; I didn't
want to make work that seemed feminist, but that in and of itself is
something to examine. Why was I embarrassed to do so, embarrassed
to think about such issues? I think that my work is about power
struggles, the complications of wanting power, what power certain
people have available to them to use and how they use it.
FF It's odd, because I only recently began thinking of my work in a
feminist manner as well. I'm making these really, really big paint-
ings of breastfeeding babies at the moment. You don't see the
woman, you just see a breast and nursing baby head in the kind of
perspective that you would have looking down at your baby. That's
what I was doing all day, every day, so I guess that's why I started
making the paintings. I was spending hours and hours breastfeed-
ing; that was my viewpoint. Your breasts become so big when you're
nursing-they become these other objects. A strange relationship
develops because the breast is literally as big as the baby's head. So,
partly, there is the formal enjoyment of what you're seeing and then
there is the emotional involvement. It didn't occur to me that these
were feminist paintings until I'd made a bunch of them and thought,
"this is really weird subject matter." These could be very conten-
tious in terms of talking about a woman's position, questioning how
a woman artist deals with children more than what they are as paint-
ings. But to me, interest is a means to an end.
RO Having a little of Gary Hume in there is what makes your paint-
ings so different from everything else. Scale is important, but style
alters everyone's emotional reaction to the work in a way that is really
important. You can't think that they are just sweet portraits because
of the way they are painted.
Matthew Sontheimer It's interesting to think about making the
work more cinematic-when size seems to create this sort of intense,
immersive experience-this ultra-surround kind of feeling. I under-
stand that, but I'm the total opposite. Instead of speaking to an
auditorium, I'd rather speak to people one at a time. I want the
utmost intimacy in my work. I want to pull a person in as far as pos-
sible. At the same time, I'm so utterly lonely in the studio at times;
I just want one person to speak to, so I bend my close friends' ears.
The work is completely nonobjective-or nonmathematical-and
kind of universal, in a way. I just prefer a smaller screen.
Trenton Doyle Hancock I'm much more interested in my own
museum of taste than I am in looking at art books. I collect stuff-an
accumulation of pop culture, film-things I've seen. I'm much more
interested in adding to that-in seeing where that leads me in an
organic fashion-more than looking at what's hot or how my work fits
into what's trendy or fashionable. I want to make my work more like
the things I collect, and I think I'm taking progressive steps toward
making the work more toylike, more filmlike, but it's really a compos-
ite of all those things.
PM Is that an intellectual process for you?
TDH Yes, but there is a marriage of intuition and intellect. It's very
intimate and completely personal. A lot of what I have around me
no one else in my immediate circle cares about or understands, and
I don't know if there is a connection out there. I'm interested in
hybridizing all the things I like into this concretized strange thing,
which, for lack of a better term, is a painting project.
PM I wonder if that says something about the language of painting.
What do you think the power of painting is?
MS It's still beautiful to see someone who can paint-who can move
paint-and it's not just someone who can illustrate. It's about the
materiality of the medium; it's luscious. I don't know if that furthers
the cause, but it's great to see that people are still making interest-
ing work. Perhaps it was framed differently than previous paintings.
It's more than just technique. Look at certain West Coast artists, for
example. They're technical freaks, but I think the mistake element
makes painting more interesting.
ARTL!ES Summer 2005 39
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Bryant, John & Gupta, Anjali. Art Lies, Volume 47, Summer 2005, periodical, 2005; Houston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth228012/m1/41/: accessed January 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .