Last year on the ocassion of Dike Blair's show at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, in Greensboro, North Caroline, we announced that the installation and multi-media artist "is having a good year." Said year pales in comparison to his fall 2010, when the artist, born in 1952, shows for the first time at Gagosian. In this exhibition, Blair has constructed an ambulatory installation that links the aspects of his inter-related sculptures and paintings. Here is an excerpt of our Steel Stillman's studio visit with the artist, last year:
TWO VIEWS OF (IN) IN, 2008, NOGUCHI LAMP, PAINTED WOOD, CARPET, FRAMED GOUACHE ON PAPTER. ALL IMAGES COURTESY THE ARTIST AND FEATURE, INC., NEW YORK.
STILLMAN: You've not been afraid to try new things over the course of your career.
BLAIR: From the beginning, I've allowed pieces to follow and react to the ones that preceded them, and along the way there have been occasional full stops, reevaluations and shifts. But since the early '80s, painting gouaches has been an ongoing practice. They began with very small watercolors of sailboats done somewhat ironically, something like Sunday painting. I remember having been startled by Dan Flavin's sailboat drawings, which just had a horizontal line and a couple of dashes; perhaps those planted a seed. The gouaches got me thinking about the possibility of reinventing landscape painting by injecting it with televisual and cinematic effects.
From the '80s to the present, the gouaches have served various functions, especially in relation to my sculptural and installation work. For me, there has always been a "drawing" quality about them; the fact that they take time to make allows me to ponder whatever else I'm working on. At a certain point I realized they could be the equal of that other work, and I began to enjoy colliding what might have seemed disparate practices in one exhibition space.
DIKE BAIR OPENS SEPTEMBER 11 AT 980 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK.
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