Katherine Bradford interviews painter Rick Briggs about his work.
Discussing the development of his work, Briggs comments that in the 80s he was "recording all the things I'd done to my place: replacing windows, spray painting, repairing the floor, etc. They were the kind of goofy, embarrassing drawings I never would have considered art but they absolutely do make sense as presaging the Painter Man series. I heard Guston once say that painting was an opportunity to embarrass yourself. I found that so shocking. I do think of my going from a reductive organic abstraction to a Pop narrative series based on a painter, albeit a house painter/artist, was my homage to Guston's challenge to 'embarrass yourself.' And you're right, Kathy, that figuration and abstraction were two very distinct activities back then. Remember when the abstract shapes in Elizabeth Murray's paintings first took on a figurative form? It seemed so radical then. Nowadays, it seems much easier to move freely between abstraction and representation. That's an aesthetic position I fully embrace."