DescriptionFROM THE ESTATE OF DR. EDMUND P. PILLSBURY
DERRICK SAUNDERS (American, b. 1970)
Paint on wood
20 x 48 x 30 inches (50.8 x 121.9 x 76.2 cm)
Mulcahy Modern Gallery, Dallas, May 2002
Dallas, Mulcahy Modern Gallery, Flake: Recent Work by Derrick Saunders, solo exhibition, May 2002
Fort Worth painter-sculptor Derrick Saunders has, for the past eight years, worked as a graphic designer at the Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth. As a fine artist he creates objects that intentionally blend the distinctions between painting and sculpture, as in this compelling work from the Pillsbury collection. In a recent conversation with Heritage, Saunders explained, "The body of work that this piece belongs to is composed of cast off paints and wood. The paints are the stuff you can get at Home Depot, other peoples' discards. That's the magic of these paints. You get to see the colors they didn't want to use."
In the works he created just before Looby, Saunders made casts of the rejected paints he bought. "They were sculptural blocks, made entirely of solid paint. This work, Looby, came toward the end of that cycle. For this work, I created the wooden box and poured the paint over the surface of the box so that it would run down, and the colors would bleed into one another, and become [and here he laughs] actually kind of ugly when they mixed up. After this piece my work became super flat, super clean, emphasizing the painted surface. This work is transitional." The fascinating paradox of this work is how the so-called "ugly" colors flow with such lushness and grace over the surface of a box that is shaped, in effect, like a precious coffer or jewelry box, even though it's made of ordinary wood and rejected paint.
Saunders notes that the title Looby refers to "an awkward person and it was this nature of the 'awkward' that I liked about the word and about the piece as well. The work was in a solo show titled "Flake" which featured a number of works based on the idea of painting mixed with sculpture but the notion of destroying it a little, or making it not so beautiful. The title of the exhibition referred to the material (dried paint) as well as the fact that I had to be a little bit crazy for making this art in the first place!"
Although the artist knew Ted Pillsbury only as an acquaintance, he stressed, "Ted did so much to support young artists. He was a fan of Cynthia's [gallery] and I would see him there at openings. He bought this piece on the opening night of my show, and was drawn to it right away. He came early to the opening, asked about it, and just bought it right then. I passed him coming out when I was going in!"
Saunders holds an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York.
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