Brickhouse comments: "I feel if you can’t draw it you can’t paint it. But the practice is not linear; drawing comes both before, during and after painting. I liken it to the musician practicing, looking at the notes on the page, learning the song and coming to know it to the point where when one goes on stage, for the artist the canvas, one is not looking at where one’s fingers go but eyes closed is now free to explore the possibilities of the song, what it may offer as a creative vehicle. I think of it too as how one comes to the final calligraphic brush mark by the repeated making of a from. It is a coming to know. Often it amazes me what just a few minutes of sketching will do for my understanding of what may be possible in a painting and in offering ways forward."
James Kalm visits Farrell Brickhouse: Recent Paintings at Life on Mars Gallery, Bushwick, Brooklyn, on view through December 7, 2014.
Kalm's video includes fantastic close-ups of Brickhouse's visceral paintings. He films the tour of the exhibition while talking to Brickhouse about his work. Asked what he finds appealing about working in oil, Brickhouse comments: "One of the beautiful things about oil paint is that you can take off as intelligently as you put on, where I found, mostly, acrylic is additive... it's kind of like the difference between video and film. Light passes through oil paint; it's such a sensous medium."
Eliot Markell reviews works by Farrell Brickhouse at Life on Mars Gallery, Bushwick, Brooklyn, on view through December 2, 2014.
Markell writes that "Brickhouse’s work is all about sensation and persona. Although not exclusively autobiographical, they largely stem from original sources of recalled life experience. .. Left to their own devices, Brickhouse’s brushy notions acquire a kind of sloppy finesse. They engage an illusionistic flux that free up his potent symbols, without need for compositional depth or overly textured impasto... Brickhouse’s work inhabits his being, which is his medium as much as paint."
Etty Yaniv reviews the exhibition Outside In at Life On Mars Gallery, Bushwick, Brooklyn, on view through March 1, 2014. The show features works by Katherine Bradford, Farrell Brickhouse, James Castle, Thornton Dial, Chris Martin, Joan Snyder, and Fred Valentine.
Yaniv writes: "Viewing these radically different artists side by side brought to life the question, What does inside or outside mean, not only in context of the art market but also in terms of gender, race, and art history at large? ... No matter how disparate the life circumstances of each of the artists in this eclectic group are, the relationship between their individual artworks forms a cohesive and energetic visual and thematic flow. Without paying much attention to art norms or market trends, these veteran artists share a long-term compulsion to visually express their personal and political truths with deep conviction, persistent exploration of daily material, and a search for individual vocabularies."
Brickhouse comments: "For me in painting there needs to be an epiphany, a trace of how the imagery conveyed thru paint was discovered and experienced by the artist. Not a graphic notation of the language of experience but the mystery of it. Art is a personal odyssey, a vehicle to carry me forward and find some deeper unity in what is happening in and around me. One of art’s chief functions is to resist the denaturing forces that are always present: those things that would take away our transcendent possibilities and turn us into stereotyped beings. Art is not the production of meaning but the providing of a genuine experience of what it is to be alive and in the world now."
Brickhouse comments: "One question I ask when entering the studio is, 'what needs to be said, what can my art contain?' My studio time is not unique, it runs the whole gamut: from the workman-like strokes that one makes until something more significant can happen, to the terrible certainty that it is all collapsing and one should just buy a boat and be done with it. There are the moments when I come alive; the marks seem determined, as if they always existed, and I am witnessing the process unfold—and all that one knows seems to be available in this illuminated moment. One also learns when to stop and step out of the trenches and look for a while to see what has been achieved, especially after the novelty wears off. Sometimes it’s a way forward that’s been rendered and sometimes one is rewarded with a decent work. My practice is one of having multiple paintings going at once. I may focus on just one thing, but usually there is this leapfrogging going on, where one work liberates the other to take the next step. I’m often amazed at how a casual three-minute sketch on a small piece of paper can inform a painting. I putter around and I have lots of visual sources lying about, as well as my own drawings, gouaches and such. I’m very organized, but in the immortal words of Patti Smith, 'one has to lose control to gain control.' "
Interview with painter Farrell Brickhouse about his current work and studio practice: "...things emerge each time I work that surprise me. Sometimes the whole process collapses, what was a presence in a previous painting now is just a cartoon of its self, it’s frightening but part of the making of things. "
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.