Wednesday, October 28, 2015
6 Questions: Brad Greenwood
1. Your paintings reference such diverse source material. What’s the process of creating one of these works like?
They are packed with images from many sources. The idea for the show took shape really quickly. I have been spending a lot of time in upstate New York and was experiencing Night again – the stars. The city obscures so much of the details. I heard a story about a blackout in L.A. that followed an earthquake there. People starting jamming the 9-1-1 line thinking something was wrong in the night sky because they had never seen it so uninterrupted. It made me think about what a Sky Map might look like in the future, or if we decided it was time to 'update' it.
The source material for my work comes from everywhere. I take tons of pictures, print them, and tape them around my studio to make different storyboards. I collect vintage postcards and old stamps. I have been obsessed with the Sky Watch page that used to chart the sky in the New York Times each week. It seemed so old school. I also love the things people hand you on the street. Religious material, psychic ads. Then I take all of these images into the painting.
Working with wood panels is part of the creative process. I try to build up the surface with matte medium and watercolor pencil – allowing the things I am thinking about to take shape. Rings of the wood panel can become planets or wonder woman's bra- i try not to over think it at first. So it is both natural and conjured in a way. I try to get an idea of what the painting is right away, and then it slows down as I go along.
2. What do you listen to while you paint?
I have been really restless with music this year. Nothing has been quite perfect while working on these panels. In the mornings I steer away from distracting lyrics. French Pop Radio has worked, or Tycho, Benny Goodman. I tend to switch to female singers in the afternoon: Nina Simone (especially after seeing the documentary "What Happened, Miss Simone?") and Bobbie Gentry Radio. Cat Power and The National can hit the right balance between energetic and distracting. And I am always on the search for good covers. Ella Fitzgerald’s version of "Sunshine of Your Love" and Boy George's "Video Games" are the latest best discoveries.
3. What’s your favorite work in the show?
For a work on paper, "Big Bang" is my current favorite. It happened really fast. It took inspiration from Manet's incredible "Barmaid" painting, and the bowl of oranges became a little universe. I bought a few blackberries at their most intense summer moment and they worked their way into the piece.
"The Ivy" is my most recent favorite of the paintings on panel. It's a little more minimal and was a much slower process than the others. I so identify with the little dandyishly dressed boy, referenced from a 17th century French painter. I ripped the original image from a Christie's catalog, and I don't know who the painter is… help!)
4. You’ve worked both in New York and LA. Have you developed a preference?
It’s hard to answer this without falling into the New York/L.A. cliché — but parts of it are true. I loved the weather and the proximity to nature in California. Taking a hike after a day of painting is hard to beat. But I also missed the edge, or even the frustration of city living, that I can get just walking from my apartment to the studio. So, having both experiences really helped me with this show. There is, hopefully, both lightness and some grit and heft in them.
5. Who are your Hollywood icons?
Lately, I’m wedged in a sort of 40’s or 50’s Hollywood aesthetic. I have one drawing, "The Hawaiian Room," that really builds off that. My most recent favorites are Greer Garson and Ingrid Bergman. Leading ladies with some personal scandal. Any Douglas Sirk movie can keep my imagination going for years. Catherine Deneuve. And then there is always Lily Tomlin.
6. What does working at La MaMa Galleria mean to you?
I love working with La MaMA. I feel supported, and total freedom to experiment – to work on anything I want and I know it will be welcomed. Hearing dance performances while installing, and having artists working in and around the space after the gallery is closed at night is awesome. It makes my work and me feel like a part of this long tradition of experimental theater and art. It's a real team.
La MaMa Galleria presents:
an exhibition by Brad Greenwood
October 28 - November 25, 2015
Wednesday to Sunday 1 to 7PM, or by appointment
La MaMa Galleria
47 Great Jones Street
(between Bowery and Laffeytte Street)
New York, NY 10003
For more info: CLICK HERE