Sam King

University of Arkansas Affiliated Fellow
March 25–April 19, 2024
Associate Professor and Program Director of Foundations, School of Art, University of Arkansas
Project title
It’s all precious, and it’s all expendable
Project description

The paintings I make embrace and embody the disruption of time and material. When a painting fails to resolve, I remove it from its stretchers, cut it into pieces, glue the pieces to newly stretched canvases, and go to work again. I don’t know if it is possible to transcend the apparatus of interpretation, but one can confound or delight it, among other things. Events from the past echo into the present. Friction might resolve into harmony or render a whole arrangement unsustainable. Work wears us out and we seek restoration. The obvious becomes revelatory. Structures break down. Improvisation carries us through. 

A mixed feeling accompanies me, sometimes, as I enter the studio, which might be summarized, all precious, and it’s all expendable. Is the yearning for radical revision a healthy one? Am I redeeming creative missteps, or erasing my own history as a painter? Perhaps an accurate reflection of contemporary, hypermediated life is necessarily unstable. Perhaps only once a thing seems to have been something else, can it be something today. My time in Rome is an opportunity to answer these questions in a place that seeded them for me.