THE GROUND: CONNY PURTILL WITH FELIX CULPA, JAY HEIKES, JESSICA JACKSON HUTCHINS, BARRY MCGEE, TODD NORSTEN, TOBIN YELLAND
MARCH 7—APRIL 26, 2014

In this exhibition organized and designed by Conny Purtill, five paintings — one each by Felix Culpa, Jay Heikes, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Barry McGee and Todd Norsten — line the walls of the gallery. Each of these works has been executed on a canvas gifted by Purtill to these artists in an ongoing project of exchange. The recipients are asked to consider them as they would any blank canvas or “ground.”

Purtill prepares these grounds, all measuring 17 x 22 inches, with alternating layers of gesso and gesso that has been toned with India ink. After eleven layers have been applied, the artist then makes numerous paintings, sanding each down upon completion. This happens until the ground is exhausted, at which time it is “neutralized” with pencil marks that create a monochromatic gray surface. In this penultimate iteration, Purtill’s canvas becomes the ground for another artist.

On an X-shaped, free-standing structure are Purtill's Hand-held Grounds, double-sided objects of ambiguous use. Their surfaces are created through a process of layering and sanding similar to the grounds mentioned above. Installed across from each of the four Hand-held Grounds are a collage, a drawing, a rudimentary puppet called Sam Fox, all by Purtill, and a photograph of an airborne skateboarder by Tobin Yelland.

Additional works by Purtill include pencil drawings in what the artist terms the “available spaces” on the pages of select books. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication of the artist’s drawings.

Installation Views
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