page 5 S.Tudyk “Eid Ma Clack Shaw”
Untitled Work in Paper, Marfa
acrylic, gouache, pastel on paper 30” x 40” 2014
Another perfectly clean work – it’s so confident, and dare I say…happy. Did it go through many iterations before ending up as it is here, or did it go right the first time?
It is happy with Texas sun! It was a sheer miracle that this work stayed clean, especially through transport back to Portland. Paper terrifies me in that way. And yes, it did thankfully come into being on the first go. I spent a lot of time staring and listening to what it told me to do. This was the first piece I created in Marfa.
Eid Ma Clack Shaw (diptych)
Acrylic, gouache, ink on paper 30” x 40” (each) 2014-2015
I’m trying to picture just how big this work is (30″x40 per sheet! in a diptych!). The work immediately conveys a sense of PRIVACY…they’re not my letters to read. But the size demands attention, with ghost hands touching the tabletop nearby.
How do you keep the lines of your text consistently scaled, especially when working large? In so many other paintings in this series, your text is also written backwards or at an angle. How’d you manage all that?
Keeping the text consistently scaled is mostly a matter of eyeballing how the size of each letter falls within the line, finding the median, keeping the x-height, ascenders and descenders in line with each other. The perspective of the page angling makes it tricky, and it’s not perfect. But I believe imperfections make a work more interesting; I think as humans we are searching for imperfections, as well as patterns. Oftentimes, I will create my own handwriting, scan it, and use the computer as a tool to figure out the backwards handwriting at an angle. For this particular piece, I taped the left side paper upside down as I worked on it. I’m glad you described the hands as ghost-like; I intended for the hands to be a second-read (something you don’t see at first glance)…maybe they are a fading memory.
Do I guess correctly that this piece was one of the first in the series? How did your process for these two works on paper affect the canvas paintings?
Yes, this was one of the first in the series. It was also one of the first works on paper I had ever made. I did treat the canvases differently after making these works. I used an absorbent ground to get the canvas to react like paper.
This exhibit takes it’s name from this painting, ”Eid Ma Clack Shaw,” correct?
Yes, it’s a reference to a Bill Callahan song. In the song he falls alseep and dreams of the perfect song, one that holds all the answers… he wakes, scribbles it down, and when he goes back to read it, it is a string of words that don’t makes sense. I think this painting holds that essence, as well as the overall show.
It’s so pleasing to see the influence of sun and sky and minimalism in these paintings. Thinking back to your artist retreat and looking at all these completed paintings together, what elements do you think will make it into your next art works? And what stands out as a significant influence on this body of work, thanks in particular to Marfa?
I’m really not sure. There is certainly a lot more to explore with correspondence as a subject and also obsessive list-making (still to come).
Thank you, Sam! Stay tuned for more from this artist; she’s back in the studio!