How much space is a painting allowed to take up? is the question that was raised for me as I walked through Margie Livingston‘s show at Greg Kucera. Walking through is what you do in this show. The space of these paintings is the gallery space, and you are a part of it. The “paintings” are on the wall, or stacked in thin lines, or suspended from the ceiling. Margie has turned the content of her paintings inside out, exposing her painting process as living, changing, and sculptural.
Paint line (Detail), 2009, Acrylic and steel cable, 2.5 x 2.5 x 192 inches
Her dedication to painting is lovingly evident in the labor of the sculptures, which are made of paint. By painstakingly stacking dried blobs of acrylic from floor to ceiling, she makes a painted line– one that would have taken two seconds to make with wet paint on a surface. Through an elaborate system of wires hanging from the ceiling, she wills a web of elastic white paint to assert itself against gravity, encouraging it to take up space. It’s as though the paint has been forced from the canvas into “room air” and must now be on life support in order to survive. In her hands, and in this space, it’s not only surviving– it’s thriving.