A number of years ago, a friend made a snarky remark about a colleague, "he’s been making the same damn painting for over twenty years.” I couldn’t help but ask: “isn't that what all of us do?”
I am hard pressed to think of an artist with a recognizable body of work who dramatically changed course or reinvented themselves after the midway point of their career. For instance, Richard Diebenkorn followed two distinctive paths: one figurative and one abstract. On the other hand, Gerhard Richter maintained a decades-long artistic career doing whatever he wanted and whenever he wanted to. His career shows no restrictions between material and mode, or between abstract and representational — and yet there is logic and cohesion.
Frank Stella is the example of the reinvention to which I refer; his work dramatically transformed over decades from early 2-dimensional, hard-edged and geometric-shaped-canvases to expressive, 3-dimensional mixed-media abstractions.
Is this reinvention or simply a reinterpretation of a consistently abstract thought? Is the line of inquiry the same but transposed to a dierent formulation, like playing the same song in a dierent key or with a dierent tempo?
Since the snarky remark my friend made, I have had the admittedly small and contrived idea of mounting an exhibition of the same painting; an exhibition of related works to intentionally exploit notions of sameness, knowing that even identical twins dier. Any replica, division, or motif will function as both connected and distinct, similar and separate.
For over twenty years I have travelled in a ‘World of Color’, consciously pursuing an abstract trajectory focused on the intrinsic attributes of color, phenomenology, and the modes of color in space.
One & the Same encompasses most of my painted output for the last three years. 2016-19 was indeed a period of transition for me, though not necessarily a period of reinvention.
During this three year time, I fully transitioned my home and studio from Brooklyn, NY to Athens NY. I transitioned back into an earlier phase of painting flat, as opposed to creating textured-tactile surfaces that I developed over the previous twenty-years. This period was also the time during which I saw my palette transition from purer-chroma to “chromatic-gray”.
Although only seven paintings are exhibited, forty-nine stretched canvases and wooden panels comprise this group of seven.
Each work is self-reflecting. Through repetition, reversal, and rotation, sameness is mirrored and echoed from within.
The more things change the more they remain the same.
-Kye Carbone June 2019
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