Paul Bloodgood was born in 1960 in Nyack, New York, and currently lives and works in New York City.
After receiving a B.A. in painting at Yale University in 1982, he spent four years living and painting in rural parts of Maine and New Hampshire. He moved to the Lower East Side in 1986. For five years he worked for an artist-owned art moving company and in 1990 (along with his fellow art-movers) was a co-founder and the curator of New York's influential AC Project Room, an artist-run commercial gallery that introduced the work of many significant young artists such as Byron Kim, Doug Aitken, Luca Buvoli, Josiah McElheny, Jane and Louis Wilson, and Anne Chu, as well as unrepresented older artists such as Mary Beth Edelson, Kim Jones, Robert Breer, Michel Auder, and Isa Genzken. In the 1990s his work was shown in New York at both Gavin Brown's enterprise and 303 Gallery, during which time he also made an artist's book of his text collages for Matthew Higgs' 'Imprint 93' publishing project. The AC Project Room closed in 2001 and Paul Bloodgood focused on his own work and teaching, and in 2002 received a MFA from the Maine College of Art. He has taught at Tyler School of Art, Rutgers University and Cooper Union. In 2002 he also began working as a colorist for Martha Stewart Omni Media, and in 2003 developed a 350 color interior house paint palette, based on Paul Klee’s color systems developed at the Bauhaus. The project was finished in 2006 and is now at Loews Home Centers across the country. In 2007 his work was shown at the White Columns Annual, selected by Clarissa Dalrymple. In 2008 he showed in a three-person show at David Zwirner, a group show at Wilkinson Gallery in London curated by Matthew Higgs, and in a two-person show with Michel Auder at Newman-Popiashvili Gallery, He was also commissioned by Bomb Magazine to create a five-page text-collage for the cover of its fall 2008 literary supplement, “First Proof.”
My paintings take landscape as their subject and as a conceptual point of departure. I begin with preparatory collages made out of parts and details taken from other landscape painters as well as from photographs and drawings I’ve made around the Mt. Khatadin region of Maine. Pollock’s Black Enamel paintings, Cezanne’s late works, and the landscapes of the late-Ming Dynasty painter Tung Ch’i-Ch’ang are a few of the sources I draw from. The collage process allows me to reorient the foreground, midground, mountain, and sky organization characteristic of landscape painting and reconceive it as a dynamic that changes at every scale of time and place. Illogical spatial relations, inconsistencies of scale, imbalanced masses, and ambiguous transitions become the organizing principles of the paintings, and they create a structural dissonance that is incompatible with representational depictions of landscape. But as these elements of space change position, a very different perceptual field of vision opens, and human activity takes shape with the wind, trees, and rivers.
I’ve come to the realization that a landscape is part of a larger energetic system; that it is not constant in form, structure or proportion; and that any attempts to capture both the rough topography and the sensorial experience of landscape in painting must include an active human presence. The essential reality of nature is not separating, self-contained, and complete in itself. Rather, nature’s unfolding truth emerges only with the active participation of the human mind. I believe that painting’s particular calling is to initiate this type of engagement. I also believe that the traditions of abstract painting (such as those developed by the three artists I mention above) are particularly suited to the task. Abstraction’s imperative to grant the medium priority over the subject matter allows for an exploration of the expressive capability of line as an embodiment of naturalistic form and of human values.
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