‘CUT PAPER PAINTING’ THAT DISSECTS THE BEWILDERING ACT OF PARENTHOOD
For his book Paper Cuts, published in occasion of his first solo show in the UK, Due Date, at the Warrington Museum of Art, Warrington, and at the Black Rat Project, London (March 2011), the Brooklyn based artist Brian Adam Douglas – aka Elbow Toe – explores his preconceived notions of parenthood and the opportunities for growth that come through that process.
As an artist in the process of trying to become a parent and living in one of the most parent-centric sections of New York City, Brian Adam is keenly aware of the mania that strikes at the heart of parents young and old. In these paintings he addresses fears (loss of individuation as well as of the proverbial unknown), the strengthening of bonds in times of crisis, the issues of trying to become a parent later in life and the wisdom gained through the process of parenting. The work is divided into two groups: a set of images on panels, and a set of images on paper. In the more fully developed works on panel, all the actions take place in staged environments. The elements surrounding the figures are merely cardboard props, strictly for the purpose of giving the figures’ action a point of reference. The action of the figures is the reality of the image, everything else is just window dressing. The paint drips and splashes act as abstract gestures clearing things away yet never managing to obscure the events occurring on the stage. In the works on paper, the events being described are contained in a sea of white. By the very nature of the presentation the gestures and relationships are isolated and distilled.
“In truth I think of it as painting, and I approach it in that way, but it just so happens to be created with a non-fluid medium. There is no juxtaposition of ideas – which is part of the collage – or images. I will take advantage of textures, but the paper marks are attempts at interlacing complex ideas of form, over and over until the object emerges“. Brian Adam Douglas.