Tell us about your exhibition.
Before I knew what I was going to create for Artpace, I came down for a site visit to see the Hudson (Show)Room. I collected drawings and pictures of the space to help me decide what I could make in my studio and I knew I wanted to use installations that I had done over the past couple years. There was a larger wall installation I originally made in 2010. I reused it here in a different form and built the show around it. I often reuse pieces and adapt them to the architecture of each new space. I come up with solutions based on the space, for example, in this exhibition I incorporated the air conditioning vents into the south wall installation. In terms of the movement of this space, I included a range of different works to show the way I approach materials.
How do you approach materials?
I reuse materials a lot and also reuse my own work. I’ll make something for a specific show and then when the show is over and the space is gone, that piece is not as important as it was and it’s fair game to re-appropriate it as something else. All the brown and white pieces in this show were totally different work, I just kind of diced it up. Some of pieces are just studio scraps. Everything ends up getting re-worked and some of the smaller pieces evolve from larger works. When I make something specific, like for this space, I measure the layout to get a basic idea of what I want to build. For instance, if I’m using yellow, I’ll get a 2’x4’ and paint one side yellow and then chop it up; there’s always extra, so I just throw that into the studio and I end up with piles of scraps that I reuse for other things. It’s not so much for environmental reasons, but for me, it’s easier to work when things have some information already in them. If you find something that’s already been used, it has a lot of visual information that’s already in it. Making it into something else is much easier when that information is present because then it’s just a matter of reacting to the built-in content. The language of my work is that of 20th-century modern painting, which was the language I grew up around and feel a part of. I see this type of work as a specific language, in a way. The more I use that language, the greater my personal vocabulary with it becomes—it feeds off of itself.
How did you consider the space when creating works for this exhibition?
The first thing I thought about was what preexisting works I could use. Some works fit the space so I didn’t have to alter them too much, and some I ended up totally reconfiguring. When I have a show, I think of the whole space as a canvas and the installations as the image—then it’s just a matter of me trying to figure it out. I come in with a plan, and when I arrive I try to let go of the plan a bit and let the magic take place, hopefully, if it can. I always bring more material than I need to give myself flexibility to experiment. The pieces in this room are all visually connected—you can work your way around like a pinball. There’s all this really nice, bright light coming in and the fluorescent paint reflects and throws color and shadows at you. This space has a tremendous amount of character—the old windows, the patchy paint, the roughness—it is a really nice canvas for the work.