Phong Bui interviews painter Gary Stephan on the occasion of the exhibition The Story of What Happens at devening projects + editions, Chicago, on view through October 6, 2012.
Stephan notes: "In the last few years, what I’ve done, which thrills me, is return to the structure that affirms the object as a way to cue the viewer, let the viewer know that we are now going to rupture it. I recently said to a studio assistant of mine, you know the problem with abstraction is, if I paint a hand, and I paint it without a thumb, everyone knows because they have expectations about hands. But, if you paint a piece of geometry and you take part of it off, nobody cares because they have no expectations. What I needed to do with these was set up something that had expectations so that then when you violated the expectations you had something that people could compare it to."