Art Reception: One Process, Infinite Solutions

A set of instructions is useful for a rigid process such as putting together a desk or avoiding driving down 35E to get anywhere in the Metroplex. However, a set of instructions in an arts setting allows for varying interpretations. For the past few weeks, Voertman’s has been featuring the works of 18 different artists who all received the same directions to interpret as they please on a 7.5x7.5 inch canvas. For the participating artists, it was a chance to break away from their normal process.

For example, Rob Buttrum typically uses recycled or damaged canvases rather than the clean piece he was given to start with. Following instructions was a challenge because he approaches his art without any rules or guidelines to follow. Buttrum says, “It’s so far from how I normally paint that it forced me to do things i may not have done that ended up being very pleasing to me”

courtesy of Voertman's Gallery

In our Denton Does Art video, Blair Johnston explains that she had been thinking about the process of her work and writing out a list of rules on the back of her paintings. “At the end of each painting, I’d be looking at the list and thinking about how it’s a painting that exists in your imagination. How many different paintings can come from that list.”

The rules instruct artists to do basic things such as: make lines, make waves, and do something with the bottom left. Beth Yturri explains, “Reality is what is perceived and we all wear our own lenses that allow us to view the world in truly unique ways... I just wanted to make sure I was true to myself.” 

Veteran artist and educator Jim Burton speculates that Blair Johnston was looking for artists to stretch the meaning of her rules rather than follow them to the letter. "Several artists took the rules as conceptual. For instance, the rule “Make waves” implies no marking or paint making of any kind. So if I were to read that rule very literally, I could have gone to a full tub of water with my piece, and literally used it to make waves in the water," says Burton.

The gallery features work from artists who have been painting various amounts of time (one such artist lists himself with .1 years of experience). The pieces are arranged in a spectrum from light to dark pieces and reflect each artist’s ability for personal expression.

The closing reception is Thursday, September 8th from 5 to 7pm with catering provided by Dorothy’s Kitchen Table. The show was made possible thanks to a micro grant awarded to Blair Johnston from the Greater Denton Arts Council.