Project Room

Justin Lieberman:
New Works

Lieberman writes: “The group of paintings I am presenting were inspired by the so-called "traces" on many of the paintings of Jackson Pollock. These traces, cigarette butts, clumps of paint brush bristles, partial footprints on the surfaces of the paintings were an affectation of lasses-faire by the artist deliberately placed to give a macho impression of not caring about the finer, unimportant details of presentation and above all to avoid treating the painting as "precious." These elements of the paintings have become famous as well for the problem of conservation that they present. A familiar and comic scene is that of the group of museum conservators gathered around a cigarette butt that has fallen off of one of the paintings with magnifying glasses and tweezers in hand, bent on it's preservation. In the 9 paintings in the show my intention was to isolate this particular idea by creating a group of works in which there was no paint at all, only "traces". Debris from my studio floor as well as the area surrounding the garbage cans outside my building which I would apply by emptying my shop-vac onto a sheet of paper prepared with glue. As for the "precious" aspect of the work, a colored frilly cut paper border frames each painting. These borders also serve to differentiate the otherwise similar works through color as well as introducing a minimal seriality to their installation. The borders also provide the starting point for the titles of the individual works: each one is named after the emotion traditionally associated with the color of its border. I have accounted for the conservation of my paintings in advance by providing a metal trough with each one (except for Envy, which has a matching broom) to collect the bits and pieces which will inevitably drop off with time.”


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