Stephen G・Rhodes “Half Filled”

2023. 1 .15 Sun - 2. 12 Sun

Opening reception 2023. 1. 15 Sun 14:00 - 17:00

Half Filled, Rhodes’s 4th exhibition at the gallery features selections from an ongoing series preoccupied with confusing the alchemy of Painting with the process of drinking. Drinking is Painting’s proxy and vice versa. Once upon a time both verbs, they evolved into extravagant nouns for hedonistic conundrums. They are habits (disciplines), defiantly relapsing against the evidence of its exhaustion, displacing death to squeeze out further mixtures of pleasure and pain. They are Pain-tings, but not confined to auto-subjective, auto-generative experience. Alcohol (spirits) is a material agency of painting, but the iconography of drink is also saturated through out the history of painting. Representation has always been fraught with poison anxiety. Even without the semiology of consumption, the possessing and sharing of unknown fluids, we nevertheless are served material substances diluted, distilled, spread and smeared, filling up volumes only to drain and dry out for agonized scrutiny. Drinking, like Painting, enables the hubris of amplified decisions. Under influence, blotted out allusions abound from painters who demonstrated conflicted stages of excess, joy, cruelty and composure from Goya, Essittam, to Velazquez who himself used a long brush to dispel fumes. Or just fantasy, bodies blotted out like citations disappearing in lingering sfumato and internalized cangiante. The color scheme evokes the purple elephants and pink mice described by drinkers in recovery, or the pigment of repressed fruit. It is the discipline of a substance that in other instances results in abstraction, effacing any trace of subject other than estranged authorship. It is made in serial relapses, hungover in waves of refined repetition. It is made in binges and vortexes, surviving through mediums and supports, and exploited sitters. It is cast out in a blurry periphery or repoured in viscous spills. It is stacked up, nailed, hung up, distributed, infused, diffused, tasted and churned up; it is in the round, it is round after round, it is withdrawn, it is dried out, cut out, it is stretched, shamed, bound, tasted, downed, repressed and refilled in ratio. Painting Drinking, but no drinking painting.

S.G.R. Tokyo 2023