|Nothing Too Personal, 2012, wood and gesso on silk shantung, 38 x 50 inches|
|Climb Higher, 2012, sharpie, enamel and glitter on silk, 38 x 50 inches|
|It's Bath Time at the Office Again, 2012, Douglas Fir, glass, satin, enamel spray paint|
and screws, 38 x 50 x 2.5 inches
|A Little Something For Northrop Grumman, 2012, wood, spray paint, wax and silk organza, 38 x 50 inches|
Above and below: work in progress.
PB: I like how you employ a minimal/post-minimal aesthetic, along with the concept behind your work. Can you elaborate about the influences at play and how you feel about the pieces that result?
PW: I'm greatly influenced by Modernist-influenced interior design, economic/ social non-fiction, and the ridiculous inconsistencies and absurdities that surround us in everyday life. The economy may be limping along in the face of increased corporatization and outsourcing, but as a result the rich are getting richer. The socialist side of me shudders, but the artist-entrepreneur side of me is thrilled…if something cracks me up in a way that helps me cope with the perversity and inevitability of occupying such an impure position, there's a good chance this humor will find its way into my work.
For inspiration, I look at Architectural Digest and other high-end interior design magazines, listen to Democracy Now, read Baudrillard and David Harvey, geek out on the web sites of military contractors and purveyors of $30,000 sofas alike, and generally pay attention to my reactions to daily life occurrences in New York. Everything is field research. I'm also dealing with Duchamp, Smithson, Judd, Merlou-Ponty, Peter Halley...
The work keeps my hands busy, and I derive immense tactile pleasure from making and materiality. In alignment with some of the tensions in my work, achieving a high level of craft is important to me with the minimalist painting-esque objects, whereas some works I show are industrially manufactured; almost artless. My work has multiple personalities, and I am interested in showing the work as two completely separate modes of thinking and making. Yet, my interest in finding newly sublime takes on minimalism through transforming lowbrow materials wouldn't exist without the absurdist ready-mades and prints, and vice versa. These two modes are inseparable and interdependent in my process, but should live in separate contexts when shown.
PB: Tell us about your experience at RISD.
PW: RISD was incredible, really a family. The faculty showed a tireless commitment to our growth as artists, and they constantly brought in tons of thought-provoking and inspiring people such as Julie Mehretu, Josh Smith, Robert Hobbs and Jamillah James. The program is really small, so we all got a lot of individual attention from the faculty and the visiting artists and critics. I learned to set up mysteries rather than solve them, and to embrace my huge investment with materials. At RISD, we read a lot, critiqued a lot, then went into our studios (a LOT) to let our intuition figure out what it all means. I emerged from the MFA program with the strong conviction that the goal of my work is to deconstruct and frame experience by transmuting materials.
PB: Whose work are you excited about lately?
PW: Right now I'm excited about Jenny Holzer's redacted FBI files turned into beautiful abstract paintings, Luisa Lambri, Kelley Walker, and the "Connecting Cultures" exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.
PB: Outside of art, what other sights and sounds have caught your attention?
PW: Hmmm, sights and sounds…I’ll go with Grimes, Glenn Branca, the conventionality and ubiquity of Herman Miller chairs, and the awesome High Line in Manhattan!
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