Diary of a painting – Paul Behnke

Angry Bat-God Yelling, 2017, Acrylic on canvas, 152 x 147 cm.

Angry Bat-God Yelling (2017) is the first large painting completed since my show of small work in Germany last summer.

In my new work I am depending less on the hard edged and non-objective forms that have been staples of my painting in favor of a quicker, more slap dash approach. The more pronounced, descriptive forms push a narrative as well as a mix of pop culture and supernatural interests to the surface. Yet the tether to a romantic ideal of modernism still holds fast.

Colors:

I predominantly use Golden paints supplemented with various colors by Lascaux and Old Holland Acrylics.

For this painting the following colors were mixed or in some cases taken directly from the tube.

Yellow green, blue green, a somewhat lightened graphite gray, various shades of cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, a lightened ultramarine blue, various reds, iridescent silver, light pink and a fluorescent orange.

My palette references the psychedelic, advertisements, pop culture in general and the mythic.

Reading:

Seeing with the Mind’s Eye: The History, Techniques and Uses of Visualization by Mike and Nancy Samuels

What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present by Dan Nadel

Eye of the Sixties: Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art by Judith E. Stein

Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks: The Most Popular Couple the World Has Ever Known by Boonton Herndon

Listening:

Currently on rotation in the studio-

The Commodores – Machine Gun

Echo and the Bunnymen – Songs to Learn and Sing

Kamasi Washington – The Epic

Bell Biv DeVoe – 20th Century Masters

Bow Wow Wow – Love Peace and Harmony

Cat Power – Moon Pix

Charles Lloyd Quartet – Love-In (Live)

Cole Porter – The Talismanic Cole Porter

Eddie Hazel – Game, Dames and Guitar Thangs

Hamza El Din – Eclipse

Three Dog Night – One

Visual:

Movies:

The Big Blue (1988), Brother Sun Sister Moon (1972), You Can’t Take it With You (1938), Cleopatra (1963), Red Dust (1932), Diner (1982), Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), 2001 A Space Odyssey (1968), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

TV:

These were all favorites as a kid and I watched a few episodes of all of these during the time it took to finish this painting.

Batman: The Mad Hatter Runs a Foul S2 Ep35/36, Star Trek, Wild Wild West and The Green Hornet.

Exhibitions:

Cuban Socialist Posters from the 1970’s – Miguel Abreu Gallery

Katharina Grosse – Gagosian

Anthony Caro – Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Tal R – Cheim & Read

David Humphrey – Fredericks & Freiser

Edward Clark – Tilton Gallery

Marina Adams – Salon 94 Bowery

Paul Behnke