Sunday, January 11, 2009
Say hello to Scott Foldesi
Hi Scott. I first saw your work at the Hideout (if only I had a dollar for every time I said that, isn't Greg Lundgren great?) back in 2006. I loved your Gas Station painting. It reminded me of Ed Ruscha's Standard Station paintings, but in reverse.
Your canvases are so white and modern but feel completely timeless. If it weren't for the subject matter, I'd have no idea which decade they come from. Is that "timelessness" intentional?
I’m aware of work that I see that looks dated but it’s not something I think about when I’m painting or choosing what to paint.
There's a palpable sadness in some of your paintings. I feel all alone when I look at them, even the ones with people. I'm not exactly sure what the word is, somewhere between desolate and forlorn but without the attached pessimism. What adjectives would you use to describe them?
I guess minimal would be the main word I would use. I think the stripped-down compositions can be interpreted as being desolate but it isn’t a particular feeling that I’m trying to suggest. I am more interested in painting the essential elements of a location or object and formal issues. However, the places I paint are familiar to me but they are not necessarily places that I enjoy spending time. So, I guess some of that is bound to come through.
Check Out, 2008
Other paintings of yours have a beautiful Hockney-esque quality in terms of light and subject. If I just saw your work, I would assume you were from California. Where do you think that comes from?
Using photographs as source material, I like to use images that have contrast. This usually means photographs that were shot in either sunny conditions or under artificial lighting. It translates to more intense color and greater contrast against a primed, unpainted canvas. I sometimes use images shot under artificial light at night but if the dark sky isn’t painted in it can be mistaken for a sunny day. The high contrast of the painted subject against the often light colored, primed canvas gives the impression of a bright environment. It’s a rare event here in the Northwest except for a few months out of the year.
Motel Pool, 2008
Speaking of source material, how do you choose your specific images?
I haven’t really developed a process for choosing images. I sometimes take my own photographs but I have been relying more on finding images from other sources, usually the internet. That means a huge amount of time spent searching images on the computer and saving anything that has a composition, location or object that I respond to. A large majority of images never get used but I often sift through them to find new ideas. It’s very impractical and not time efficient.
Your art feels like a promised future that was never quite realized. Like a suburban tract from 1950s that never got developed.
The subject matter is mostly places that are often the same by design, no matter what part of the country it is located in. A person can go to a particular chain store or strip mall in one state and basically have the same experience in another state. That’s one of the reasons I like to use images taken from various sources. It doesn’t matter if I took the photograph because visually it is essentially the same as what I have experienced. I suppose that’s some type of utopia for some developers and big chain retailers.
Like Rachel Maxi, you have mastered the use of the mundane things and places. I can imagine few things more boring than a bus stop, bench or shopping cart. And yet I could stare at one of your paintings of one of those objects all day. How do you pull us in like that?
I like Rachel’s paintings. Formal aspects like composition and color palette are important to me, as well as good paint handling. Not necessarily in a traditional sense. I can be drawn into almost any painting that is set up well and painted well. I love the physical properties of paint and paintings that take advantage of those properties. I know that’s vague but it’s meant to be as it covers a large range of painting. My most successful paintings combine all those qualities.
Safety Net, 2007
Scott, congratulations on American Dreams. It's fantastic. I think you're going to be overwhelmed by the positive response!
Thank you for the kind words Joey and thank you for the interview.