Featured Artist: Garry Noland
By BRITTANY FICKENSpecial to The BohemianThe Bohemian, March 2013
There’s a bottle of whiskey and an empty PBR can on the table. Garry Noland has just buzzed us into his top floor Crossroads studio at The Studios Inc. We step into the space as Noland shakes our hands and offers us coffee. In a dark corner of his studio, Noland shares insight on his older paintings with Anna and I. Thick layers of oil paint coat the surfaces of National Geographic magazines, creating a topographic texture. Noland carves borders in the paint to separate the positive and negative space between land and water. Which is land and which is water? These divides are not easy to distinguish. The borders of the countries mimic borders of all kinds. Noland explains how borders which exist between people are always changing and are never as clear as the borders on a map.
Play between positive and negative space is crucial to all of Noland’s work. “There is importance in negative space,” he says. Layered narrow strips of carefully cut tape hang on the wall. The strips hide a message of Morse code within the long and short colors of the tape. The piece reveals the importance of the space between each dot or dash: without it, no message could be conveyed. Noland brings us to the front of his studio where a giant tape and floor debris wall hanging exists. He says he just pulled this one up yesterday.Noland covers the floor of his wooden studio in colored tape and peels it up from the floor one inch at a time. He says his fingers are still sore from yesterday. It was a late night for Noland. Wood grain and debris are picked up by the tape, forming a kind of terrain. Noland says once up on the wall, he stands back and looks at the piece for hours before deciding how to approach it. Noland chooses what parts of the sticky side to cover with pattern and tape and what spaces to leave bare as wood grain. He shows us the painterly strokes on the back of the tape.On another wall, thin strips of paper and marbles are placed on tape in a way that appears as if they are floating. Noland says this is where he tests ideas and plays. Four April 1972 National Geographic magazines are cut to reveal this comical message: “If your six year old saw something like this, would he know how to phone for help?”.Garry Noland is showing this month at La Esquina Gallery in the continuation of the Concept OK-KC exhibition. It features a combination of KC and Oklahoma artists. The exhibition will be curated in KC by Charlotte Street Curator-In-Residence Jamilee Polson Lacy. Check out Garry Noland’s work at the opening reception March 15th 6pm to 9pm. The show will be open until April 20th.