Art Lies, Volume 47, Summer 2005 Page: 41
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from film, because in film you have to go through time sequencing
to get the narrative; in a painting you get it at once. That's what's so
fascinating. It makes film and video seem frustrating; you have to sit
through it to get it.
MS Nowadays, nothing you seem to be looking at seems real, espe-
cially in video with special effects and such. It could be real, but
everything is manipulated.
FF But that doesn't matter to me. Something can be totally unreal
but still be genuine. Does that make sense?
TDH Painting is so strange within its own context. Sometimes I have
to look at the date to contextualize a work. I'm looking at everything
as a whole.
PM But is it strangeness that provokes thoughts?
TDH Yeah, it leads to a strange vibration between thought and awe.
RO Some of the paintings that are my biggest influences I actually
hated at first, and I'm a person with strong emotions, so when I hate
something, I really hate it with a passion. But a year later, if I'm still
thinking about something-not in the sense that I'm still bothered by
it, but there was something about it that got me confused-I think
that's really important. You do want to be challenged. I don't neces-
sarily want to look at something that pleases me. I want a painting to
drive me crazy for a while.
TDH One of our professors from undergrad quoted Coco Chanel,
saying, "Art is the ugly things that become beautiful and fashion is
the beautiful thing that becomes ugly." I've always loved that quote.
I'm constantly looking at things I think are ugly in an attempt to bring
them into a project in which I turn them around and make them
beautiful. I'm sure chefs do a similar sort of thing. I'm serving up
snakeheads, but you taste them and they're great.
PM The word beauty comes up all the time. You might describe
it as a sensuous quality of painting. How do you represent beauty
through the means of painting, with a brush and pigment and two-
TDH I've often spoken about what I do in terms of beauty and the
beast-a meeting of the brutish and the extremely delicate. That
vibration, within a plane, really gets me off. And I'm invested in
seeing how brutish and how delicate I can actually get. Maybe once
I get to that point, I'll stop and move on to something else, but I don't
think so. I have another quote-I don't know who said it-but it
reads, "Ugliness can be beautiful but beauty is still more beautiful."
Something can be stunning-just beautiful-but if it has a tinge of
ugliness in it, it somehow interests me more.
MS To me it's like the chill you're supposed to get if someone walks
over your grave. That happens occasionally--a physical reaction.
Once that happens, it doesn't go away.
TDH The uncanny....
FF I think beauty is that thing that stays with you. It's such a difficult
thing to pin down, like the image of the Twin Towers collapsing
was stunningly beautiful, in a way--shocking and horrifying, but
beautiful. That's why they kept playing it over and over again. In a
way, it's the ultimate art piece. It's a terrifying image, but it stays
with you always.
AF I always wonder about beauty because everyone talks about it so
differently. It's tricky. To me, it always feels like longing. Is it some-
thing that provides a sort of completeness for you? Is it something
that satisfies or is it something that creates a want?
TDH The latter I think: the unattainable.
RO I think I have a sort of internal resistance to talking about beauty.
I don't know why. When I think about it, I think of images-things
that break my heart. I think about visual images all day, but maybe
I just can't put that into these terms. I don't think I realized this
till today, but I think I have a problem determining what I think is
TDH Beauty can be tied to memory and nostalgia. When you see it,
it'll tap into something latent within you-a place you normally can't
reach. It speaks to that.
MS ...like the Twin Towers that Francesca referred to earlier.
Someone made a painting about the Challenger explosion, an
abstraction, but everyone in the room knew what it was. It wasn't
like a mushroom cloud or something, but everyone knew. Those kinds
of images don't just go away.
PM Beauty is certainly one aspect, but I wonder, within the arenas of
your lives, what is painting for you?
TDH Those of us who paint and those of us who don't, could we live
with it if someone took our paint away? Could we do it? Do we care
about painting-the big, capital P painting? Some people do, but I'm
not sure about any of us.
RO We all recognize there are painters who do feel like it is the
MS Like people who say if you paint on paper it's not a painting?
TDH If someone took your paint away, could you still make art? How
concerned are you with the capital P of painting? Do you care about
the progression of painting? Is that your modus operandi? We seem
to keep straying from the subject of painting. Is it an unnatural sub-
ject to dwell on?
FF I think we all agree that we wouldn't mind if our paint was taken
away. We'd find a different mode of expression.
AF I had a bit of a crisis when I entered grad school because nobody
was painting at the time. I actually stopped painting for a while. I'm
not sure if I could find another way to express myself; I have before,
but I don't know if I could now.
RO So you care about the bigger context of painting and what its his-
AF I do. I think about it all the time, but I don't necessarily want my
work talked about in the same manner. There's all this anxiety paint-
ers have about painting: the baggage...is it relevant? I don't think
about that anymore. I think it's a tired argument but it's not going
away. I'd rather look at what someone is doing than to decide if it is
PM So, basically you're saying you are painters, but you're just
making your work and have certain things that you want to say?
ARTL!ES Summer 2005 41
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Bryant, John & Gupta, Anjali. Art Lies, Volume 47, Summer 2005, periodical, 2005; Houston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth228012/m1/43/: accessed June 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .