The Goo of Paint: How Every Mark Matters

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Jennifer Coates writes about the “referential potential of the painterly gesture.” Coates’ exhibition Carb Load ws recently on view at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA).

Coates concludes: “The myriad ways to treat the goo of paint speak of both destruction and careful manipulation. When images break down into lawless, senseless viscosity, there is a threat to the order of things. This threat is productive, as the viscosity can relay messages about human behavior: The goo tells us about what we want: to be purified, to be a hero, to eat, to kill, to covet. The plight of the contemporary painter is to be aware of the implications in all the ways that paint can be manipulated; in some cases, that means teasing out meaning from every squish, ooze, and splash.”

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