Sunday, August 04, 2013

“To be great is to be misunderstood; and remain, as I do, incomprehensible.”

BRAD PHILLIPS:   What did you think I was going to say? That’s a wonderful quote by Wilde. Okay, well one, I have no fucking interest in the discourse of contemporary art. I don’t even like to use the word “discourse.” These “investigations” are what make Canadian art so provincial and boring. And secondly, historical painting really moves me and I think it’s a beautiful thing but referencing it has been done enough by now. Jeff Wall alone has done enough. I don’t see the need to keep referencing historical painting. I think it’s a crutch and operates as a sort of hook to hang weak work on. Yeah, that Wilde quote – I aspire to that. I like confusing people. The work appears so simple but it’s not at all, and at the same time I’m not trying to trick people or talk down to them. It’s a delicate balance, really. Punk rock was how I grew up, and Saul Bellow is a favorite writer. So it’s positive that you see that relationship. I like to write love letters to people like Wilde, Salinger, Sexton, Plath in my work. I’m a romantic. Women collect my work much more than men, and again, since women are so obviously superior to men, this is also evidence that I’m doing the right thing. It’s like people who describe their work as their “practice” – I’m not practicing anymore, I’m doing it.

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