2010, Softcover, 11 x 8.5 inches, 138 pp., 61 b/w illus.
Michelle Grabner, Hamza Walker
This catalogue accompanies the first solo museum exhibition of painter Scott Short. In Short’s work notions of color and abstraction are boldly reinterpreted. His method of generating compositions is to make a black and white photocopy of a sheet of colored construction paper, and then makes a copy of a copy of a copy, until the result is hundreds of times removed from the original. Short then selects one of these many copies, enlarges it, and painstakingly copies it in paint on canvas.
Despite its labor intensiveness, the procedural aspect of Short’s paintings is subordinate to their effect. Visually, Short’s paintings are Abstractions with a capital A. Once the photocopies have undergone the shift of scale and material that occurs when Short transcribes them as paintings, they become as a species of abstraction even Greenberg would acknowledge. The fact, however, that Short is dedicated to copying makes his painting the keepers of their own dialectic, in which roles become reversed. Although it is the photocopier that performs the creative role of abstracting, Short’s mechanical manual labor allows the copy to become the original and the abstract to lay claim to being strictly representational.
Michelle Grabner's essay explores the ideological intersections of copying, repetition, and manual dexterity in art practice. Hamza Walker's essay discusses how Short's practice nullifies the distinction between abstraction and figuration.