The other day, I did a studio visit with the young artist and very recent OCAD grad (2010) Hugh Scott-Douglas.
I had seen his ceramic sculptures at a collectors home and fell in love with them. They were mid-sized, off-balance ovals and loopy shapes that were roughly modeled but heavily and sophisticatedly glazed. Some, he showed at Clint Roenisch’s gallery in a 3-day exhibition this spring, had working light bulbs in their ends.
I was expecting to see sculpture when I arrived, but Hugh’s tiny studio room was hung with paintings, which he was preparing for an upcoming show in L.A. (One of many shows this year, a testament to his ambition and social networking skills, but that’s another post, coming soon.)
He explained that while he studied in the sculpture program at school, he now worked in other media, mainly since he could stack more paintings together than he could store his extremely fragile, unfired clay sculptures.
A sculpture by Hugh Scott-Douglas. Image: verykunst.com
We spoke at length about his practice, mostly about ‘bad’ art, and the ‘willful idiocy’ that some young (and less young) painters have been bringing to their practices in recent years and which he is himself investigating.
I’m also interested in the idea of ‘bad’ art – in fact, what I loved about Hugh’s sculptures is the dichotomy between the off-kilter shapes and rich, heavy glazing. I love how much ‘bad’ art looks wonderful inside a white walled gallery. I love how clumsy execution is magically balanced by the artist’s intention. Of course, when artists make ‘bad’ art, it’s a deliberate move, a way of investigating new possibilities, or, as Raphael Rubenstein mentions in THIS article (that Hugh sent to me) a way of ignoring the ‘impossibility’ of painting.
I feel it’s also a reaction against the market. From THIS article “Waxing Durr” in the quarterly publication Art Lies, on what they term “retard art”: “Posed as an act of passive market resistance, this recent slackerdom ultimately occupies a position of privilege and luxury, highlighting the market’s ready recuperation of any production, even the most retarded.”
Check out Hugh Scott Douglas’s website HERE.
I think he’s definitely one to watch.