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Five Works
Alexander Puz

L.V: Tell me a little about your work.


A.P: I am a hard edge, linear abstract painter. My work deals with ideological and pragmatic systems that define form in a broad sense. For example, the canvas as an emblem of the promise of Modernism as progressive narrative, or the capability of symbolic systems to generate emotional content. I am interested in how rules can create and foster systems of meaning- not just to impose criteria for success but to establish a well defined but permissive frame to explore nuanced states of cognition.


L.V: What’s the medium? Acrylic on Canvas? It’s odd, because some of them look like prints –– have such strict, scientific precision. A kind of rigid exactitude we might equate with analytics / tech-driven creation. What’s that all about?


A.P.: This work is Flashe Vinyl Acrylic paint on Canvas, basically hyper-matte liquid plastic, which is why they do feel like prints, since there is a uniform surface. The aesthetic decision making ties into the conceptual content of exploring rule systems as a condition for meaning. I like to begin with a clear foundation in my visual language so it is clear when the rules are being adhered to and when they are being bent or broken. Regarding tech- I have spent decades looking into screens, there is an almost instinctual comfort with straight lines and stacked panel space that finds its way into these works. A clear organization of the knowledge at hand.


L.V.:  At the same time, there is an almost quasi fibre-arts sensitivity to this work. At times pulled taut, like in Grid Failure and Active Listening, at other times frayed; the heaviness of the acrylic in Solar Catastrophe / Mother Night / Organized Sports feels unshorn, looser, more relaxed. As though this precision is coming undone? Or at least being contended with. 


A.P: The moments of looseness began as a way to contend with texture in what is otherwise a very regular surface. Paint has specific capacities, such as textural build up, which I feel needs to be addressed. I am seeking a dynamic equilibrium between the micro control of hard edges and the expressive potential of quickly and imprecisely applied paint- I am investigating the effects produced when different registers of paint application intersect and diverge. 


L.V.: Active Listening feels slightly different from the others. So perfectly harmonized between mechanical precision and something gentler, of a more nature driven pattern. I’m thinking of a macro photograph of fur. But then I'm thinking of cilia. Of sound waves. Of the word: Sinuous. Which means, of course, both wavy, but also intricate and complex. Which feels apt.  


A.P: Active Listening is a more recent painting that directly deals with how control can yield unexpected results, or more broadly, anxiety about the demand for order (in society, self discipline, governmental control.) In this painting, restricting the means to the bare minimum (black and white, one denomination of line, one vertical gesture) allowed the 'human' to emerge. Since each line placed was a reaction to the previous, this work is a record of a negotiation with imposed order structures and their inevitable break down.

L.V: What am I missing? What would you like to share? 


A.P: All of this work has been completed in the last 2 months- my first semester at Yale. I am happy to share this with SKOO as it represents an unfiltered look at the beginning of what will hopefully turn into a fully realized thesis, the seeds of which are planted and are growing with the help of brilliant faculty and generous colleagues. 

L.V: Tell me about the first time you learned to ride a bicycle?


A.P: I can't remember learning to ride a bike but I do remember the feeling of setting up a ramp in the street and pedalling straight at it for the first time. There was fear and apprehension but it was one of those moments where you lose your internal narrative to the purely visceral, a leap of faith. Hitting that ramp, small as it was, launched me just a few feet off the ground but it felt like being frozen in the air, weightless. I try to keep in mind that without taking those kinds of risks in life you miss out on so much beauty.

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