I always thought art was made one piece at a time. Then I met Carl's practice. His studio was filled with so many paintings all at various stages of completeness. I struggled with how he could bounce. I thought to myself, how could he retain all that information as every piece tells a story and sub stories. Until one day I realized I am doing just that!! I'm not sure how it happened but it did. It could have been the fear of not being able to keep up with him or just the matter of fact we kept starting new pieces before finishing the old. We were so excited about our collabs that we were compelled to start a new one at least at every cell. Crazy :)
I currently have at least 18 paintings that need my attention. I trust Carl has that if not more unfinished works in his studio... and what do we do on our weekly call.....talk about starting a new one!!!
It is not about completion as I once thought. Although it feels great to complete. It is all about enjoying the process of painting and painting ideas. Also with the luxury of multiple works in progress you can bounce to what you feel at that time. Singular painting, working on one at a time, you work on it even when you may not be feeling connected to it, which I found to be a BIG mistake in most cases.
So my advise to anyone working singularly, try MORE! There is such freedom in it :)
Carl Berrien Smith
2018-10-13 1600 hours
I think the "Pizza with Everything" was the first time I thought about a one artist out of two people. I am drawn towards the idea of two artists creating as one.
I removed the space between our two middle names for a symbiotic merge. I believe now that we are so synched as artists that each new or current work already is collaborated upon regardless who has touched it. This also pertains to theory of narrative. Our platonic relationship affords us limitless possibilities without any complications or hang-ups. I count on this structure, our working relations, and perfect chemistry. Because of it all, I feel totally free to express any idea or thought I ever had, or have.
After the "Pizza with Everything" (or before or during), it just feels right to not just collaborate and work extensively and exclusively together but also to mutate into the others perspective, to meld into just one remaining artist collective.... The clownfish and the supportive anemone illustrate the initial chemistry of MorgenBerrien in that we feed off each other and support one another in our symbiotic relationship.
To delve deeper into the fish metaphor, I choose the Angler fish: The female slowly consumes the male and then they become one. The male seeks out the female, bites her butt and releases an enzyme which fuses the two together. Then the male fills up from her nutrients as his guts breakdown as he slowly gets absorbed into her. All that remains of him are his testicles. HIs heart and mind fuse with hers. He courses through her veins. Their souls dance together.
When we auto draw, it feels like a total surrender, laying down all notions of art training and sense of control. We seek to see and feel what is in between: What does outer space and inner space feel like? Where do they join eachother? The musician Miles Davis sought the sound between musical notes. What is between moments? Between thoughts and feelings? Time and no time? Love and indifference? We seek to express the moment while withholding nothing. The MorgenBerrien is the instrument of expression.
I allow myself to be completely vulnerable to her. I crave her newest ideas and work to feed upon. And her, I trust likewise. The joint artworks then build up like layer upon layer of a collective spittle of efforts, narrative, paint, and angst.
Due to the symbiotic friendship we share, Kelly and I support eachother creatively, with joy, through sadness and also anger. Our latest work entitled "The Annals of an Exploding Pizza with Cranky Corners" illustrates our chemistry and a tongue and cheek metaphor of how when one of us gets cranky during a long art cell work session, the person goes to a cranky corner.
Tomorrow is cell 44 in Boston. I will stop by at Kerry's house in new Hampshire on the way in order to visit and also recon for possible cell at her location.
2018-11-03 1330 hours
At cell 44 boston (at dunkin donuts across the street). Kelly is reading my view of Morgen Berrien. I hope she likes it.
1755 hours. We kept spilling our coffee and RedBull. Kelly dropped the ice bucket and all the ice cubes fell all over the floor. We reviewed all the work.
Day Two early morning cell 44 boston 0555 hours. daylight savings.
We painted beautifully together. We talked about all our work, ideas, narratives and life issues. We worked on the 3d mix media piece from 2015 entitled Train Leaving Station. This narrative piece just became pivotal in describing what the art cell means to both of us and also how we wish to describe it to others.
The inside of the box will be further simplified, but the "outer framing" has just received an inclusive narrative. Covering most of the four outer sides is our idea of what our first art cell looked like (outside of motel physical description) and also what our initial hopes of what the first art cell would be to each of us. Kelly's image on the back side of the piece illustrates her hope for a great art experience of collaboration. Mine showed the initial intent for a crazed and inspired art experiment.
art cell 43 boston 2018-08-18
saturday morning 0800 hours packing car in greenwich. another dog day of august. rains daily with high humid temps.... we speak of ideas of bubbles within bubbles, time and space, gender fluidity among plants, sea creatures and humans (represented by the 3 graces).
2018-08-20 monday morning recap. we had a very productive cell. after meeting at dunkin donuts across the street (sipping coffee and chatting until 3pm when our room is ready), we quickly started painting. we brought several paintings each to work on (and not swap later....although carl decided to take them all!), we mainly used cell 43 as a mere work session, and to expand upon the fluidity of gender and time space in bubbles. we basically just jammed for eleven hours...
we worked on the following:
kelly went home with a box of very samll unfinished paintings to embark upon connecting them so as to create larger takeover pieces for us to finish collectively.
we talked about trying an artcell in gloucester and also one next summer on long island near the old funny farm.
kelly will continue working on px and i will work to finish soda jerk and billy rubin (and others) until cell44 - location undecided
the three graces we have been considering for our work were all models from days past. they all had very interesting but tragic lives.
evelyn Nesbit, audrey munson, simone mareuil
- morgen berrien