As I was rinsing up some pots and pans, the Cuisinart, that was whipping my black beans into soup, leapt from the counter and crashed on the floor sending copious amounts of brown sludge onto the floor, stove and walls. My first thought, as I saw this gigantic splatter was, “Is there a painting in this? Can I make art out of this?” As I sifted through my mental catalog of art that might inform this decision, I thought of Ruscha’s drawings made with mustard, catchup and other culinary items.
Ed Ruscha, Very Angry People, cherry stains on waterfall rayon
20 H x 24 W (inches), 1973
And then, when I dug out my flat pastry blade to scrape up the thick soup, I thought that this was a painting tool that Jules Olitski would appreciate. Even Walter Darby Bannard made a brief appearance, when I slid the scrapper across the floor and left thick brown lines at the edges and smears in the middle.
Jules Olitski, Shekinah Light* (1990), acrylic on canvas
Walter Darby Bannard, Old Battles
Happily, once I cleaned up the floor, stove and walls there was still enough soup left in the pot for dinner.
Ed Ruscha: In his drawings, prints, and paintings throughout the 1970s, Ruscha experimented with a range of materials including gunpowder, vinyl, blood, red wine, fruit and vegetable juices, axle grease, chocolate syrup, tomato paste, bolognese sauce, cherry pie, coffee, caviar, daffodils, tulips, raw eggs and grass stains. Stains, an editioned portfolio of 75 stained sheets of paper produced and published by Ruscha in 1969, bears the traces of a variety of materials and fluids. Ruscha has also produced his word paintings with food products on moiré and silks, since they were more stain-absorbent; paintings like A Blvd. Called Sunset (1975) were executed in blackberry juice on moiré. However, these most vibrant and varied organic colourings usually dried to a range of muted greys, mustards and browns. His portfolio Insects (1972) consists of six screen prints – three on paper, three on paper-backed wood veneer, each showing a lifelike swarm of a different meticulously detailed species. For the April 1972 cover of ARTnews, he composed a Arcimboldo-like photograph that spelled out the magazine’s title in a salad of squashed foods. [Wikipedia]
Jules Olitski evolved a radically innovative technique of laying down atmospheric blankets of colored spray on the canvas, marked at first by barely discernible straight-edged value changes near the edge of the picture and later by acrylic paint dragged along portions of the edge. He exhibited internationally in the late 1960s and was selected as one of four artists to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1966. In 1969 he was invited to exhibit large, aluminum, spray-painted sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art becoming the first living American artistto be given a one-person exhibition there.
He taught at Bennington College from 1963 to 1967.
In the 1970s Olitski returned to the thick impasto surfaces which characterized his work in the 50s but with innovative techniques that took advantage of the newly improved polymer and gel acrylic mediums. [Wikipedia]
*The Hebrew word shekinahis a feminine term for God’s transcendent presence, which doesn’t “actually descend down from heaven, but rather is described as the light that occupies everywhere.”
Walter Darby Bannard began using the new acrylic mediums in 1970 and his paintings evolved into colorful expanses of richly colored gels and polymers applied with squeegees and commercial floor brooms, which continues to the present. [Wikipedia]