June 5th at Artwalk we’ll have new work from R Middleton. Not only will we have have art on the walls, we will have art you can wear because we’ve teamed up with the artist to bring you a new collection of totes, clutches and pouches constructed by Wolf & Cub out of his canvases.
Want to know more about R Middleton’s work and what can you expect out of the show? Read on and find out what he’s all about and then made your way to Wolf & Cub on Wednesday, June 5th from 5 to 9p.
Wolf & Cub: Give us a little background about your work.
R Middleton: I became committed to abstract painting in college. Like a lot of young people, I was trying to process too much all at once—and it didn't help that I was using a lot of energy trying really hard not to acknowledge my sexuality (Happy Pride!). I was a psych major at Princeton, going crazy trying to understand everything in the world, and myself, and put it all into words and forms that made cohesive sense. To be honest, colors, shapes, lines, and blobs of paint are a lot more appealing! Not having to make sense makes more sense.
WC: Tell us what art is to you?
RM: Art is creative expression. That's really it. That's why art is everywhere and can be anything. Everyone can and does make art, but only a small percentage of us wind up devoting a huge chunk of our processing power over to it. I appreciate and own all types of art, but the art that moves me the most is art that takes me beyond reason.
WC: Can you describe your style?
RM: Anti-verbal. Anti-narrative. Anti-symbolic. Anti-representational. Illogical. It's a reprieve from the rest of life.
WC: Why don’t you tell us about anything new that the viewer will see in this show?
RM: YES! That's why it's funny that I am calling this show What To Think! I am going against many of my own currents, by attaching pushy messages to some works and by offering art that's literally transformed into pragmatic merchandise, in the form of bags. Look, I am fully committed to my message that "art transcends reason and purpose." But I'm not an ideologue and I also live in the real world. I probably own 50 tote bags! (Most of which I keep by my front door, always at the ready.) I would rather see more people carrying one of a kind bags made from abstract painting scraps than ones with corporate logos on them. It excites me to think where my little painting bags might go!
WC: Anything special we should look for in your new work?
RM: The unifying theme in this new show is my struggle with messaging and merchandising. On some level I think we can all relate. The gig economy and social media makes us all into brands selling ourselves as the product. For an artist even more so, because we actually are distilling pieces of ourselves into works that we hope someone somewhere might appreciate and hopefully buy so that we can afford to continue doing what we're doing. For this show I challenged myself to embrace messaging and merchandising in a way that works for me. Underneath it all, I will continue to make abstract paintings. I think that there will always be a place for them. I highly recommend staring into color swirls for as much time as you can spare every day. You'll honestly feel happier.