Alex Bacon interviews painters Mary Heilmann and David Reed whose exhibition Two By Two is on view at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, through October 11, 2015.
Reed: "Painting is really good at absorbing the world around it. This used to be thought of as a weakness and people thought that painting had to be purified and become just itself. Such a stupid idea. It’s good that painting absorbs everything around itself. It makes painting alive, part of the world that it’s in. Painting especially loves other media. It’s great that painting can absorb other media. Paintings have this intense symbiotic relationship with film and digital media and photography. I mean, they used to think photography would destroy painting. But instead it’s as if photography is the vampire that has bitten painting. The vampire’s kiss of photography, instead of killing painting, has made it another vampire, immortal."
Heilmann: " I like to think of the subject matter and the image in a painted picture in the same way, and I’m getting a lot of my ideas and inspirations from commercials. They’re so brilliant, how they’re made and how they’re timed. So I don’t think it’s dead, painting; I don’t think film and TV are going to kill it. Because the kind of work you go through in making paintings, like ruminating and thinking, and actually using your hands, that’s a big difference from other mediums."