WORDS

Finish in Contemporary Art part 01

Viewing Vincent Pocsik's "Long Ago ... Far Away"

By: Mike Nesbit

 

From Frank Stella … “The elation carried me pretty high; I was sure I would qualify, and I was sure that I would never have to look back, that I would never have to account for anything more than what my hand made.  I knew that my hand was not going to make any more renditions, no matter how schematic, of potted ivy and table tops.  I finished my painting in thirty minutes.  It received mix reviews; but all that really mattered was that I was free to make the kind of paintings I really wanted to make.  In that small moment of confrontation when I felt I had to do it or forget it, I formed my basic feeling about abstract painting, although I did not know it at the time.  In the thirty or so years since that date, nothing in my experience of looking at and making painting has given me cause to doubt what I believed then and what I believe now.”

Finish can be quite unsettling for anyone with an “end” in mind.  To Finish a test, a recipe, a season, a life cycle … requires a sense of judgment for that end.  Often, … time is the immediate judgment for Finish, as it’s a quantifiable mark for a moment that becomes readily available for us to objectify.    Finish can be represented at various scales from manmade objects to geographical landscapes.  Within the context of language, Finish has multiple meanings.  When used as a noun, like … what’s the Finish? It implies a technique applied to the representation at hand.  When used as a verb, such as … I’m finishing.  It describes a continuous action which might not have an end in sight.  With Finish come’s anxiety, for it suggests ownership over the final representation of an idea.  Within our current context of judgment, we have a wide range of historical references for Finish.  From Marcel Duchamp and the “Ready Made” that used re-appropriation of context for Finish.  To John McCracken and the “Fetish Finish” which was quite literal in the technical application of the extent to which an object could be Finished.  To Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, which due to it’s scale and position in the Landscape is in a state of continuous Finish.  With such a wide range of difference, it becomes critical for the viewer to perceive the representation with an understanding of its context.  Whether viewing something in a state of Finishing or as an object highly Finished… it’s all Finish.  At one moment it’s a verb that describes an ephemeral action and next it’s a noun that has solidified an object.  Or, as Stella states … it comes down to the confidence in the individual to just say “It’s Finished”. 

One day a shipment of lumber mysteriously arrived at The Black Contemporary in Ames, Iowa.  The lumber was divided into two stacks each roughly a quarter mile long, 15 feet high, and 20 feet wide.  The lumber sat quite undisturbed until arson torched a stack charring the woods exterior.  About a week later a couple Artist’s showed up, piled some logs into a pickup truck and drove the timber back to Omaha, Nebraska.  It’s there one artist spent 3 weeks with little sleep and much intent to work.  With the use of an angle grinder and various blades he anxiously and impatiently carved away searching for something.  Perhaps some decisions were made by the material, others because it just felt right.  Grinding, sanding, charring, grinding, and sanding persisted for those few weeks uninterrupted except for a brief cold until a Friday opening came and the objects were Finished.

Finish

restless stack

gray skies

impatiently moved

tired of rest

uninterrupted thought

moment of pause

scale in question

unexpected 

 restless stack

restless stack

 gray skies

gray skies

 impatiently moved

impatiently moved

 tired of rest

tired of rest

 uninterrupted thought

uninterrupted thought

 scale in question

scale in question

 moment of pause

moment of pause

 unexpected

unexpected