Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Miserable Authenticity

(Kirk Hayes, Stairs (For Kelson), 2006)

(Philip Guston, Untitled, 1980)

I was immediately attracted to this piece by Kirk Hayes in Gumption, a group show now on view at ZieherSmith. But is it the particular work that I like or the appeal of the association I make? That’s certainly reminiscent of a Guston pink and the roughhewn foot is part of Guston’s vocabulary (anyone who has been reading here a while knows, I like my Philip Guston.) Hayes’s other oil on panel in the exhibition rings more true to me. The line between influence and imitation is fine indeed.

With my own drawing, it’s so hard to tell when something is enough my own. If the question pops into my head, I probably have my answer: I’m too close. If I’m wracked with insecurity because I’ve never really seen anything like it, then I’m probably in the right zone of authenticity, miserable authenticity. Only with time does the sting wear away into a “maybe that works.”

All this said, with an almost-Guston my wall, I could be a happier person.

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