Bill Hochhausen: Situational Painting
Several years ago at The Painting Center, Bill Hochhausen's exhibit, Frames of Mind, introduced unusual image combinations and startling (painting) concepts related to framing. He continues to expand his methods in this genre bending exhibition, Situational Painting.
Many artists; Thomas Eakins, Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee, Howard Hodgkins (among others), made and altered frames for their paintings as a way to sharpen, both esthetic clarity and expressive intent. Tradition describes the space of perspectival realism by suggesting the corollary of an open window: As the window frames the reality beyond, so the frame, holds the painting (illusion) within. Hochhausen sees framing as just another form-making device, a 'context' that contends with what it holds, an expressive element in itself.
The modern, esp. Post-Modern, age sees 'context' where the Ancients saw 'frame'. CONTEXTURE, the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs, has become our base of perception: A montage of interpenetrating contexts, crossing boundaries of method and genre. History seen as 'just another object', is an essential component of this post avant-garde. The essay by Merleau-Ponty, “Cezanne's Doubt”, initiated a sensibility of open perception that Hochhausen follows, even as it leads to some odd corners. The landscape painted directly from observation opens the painting to further conjectures in the studio process. The perception (painting) of nature links immediately to the painting (nature) of perception. The studio work opens an associative process, within which other phenomena of experience (psychology, politics, memory, ambiguity - just to start the list) can find expression. Finally, the idea and conventional use of a frame becomes silly or, at best, a decorators whim. The 'frame', as he has developed its use, becomes for Hochhausen another malleable component, along with video and sound, as part of painting (works).