About the Exhibition
My intent for this show was to create a group art that continues to delve into previous investigations of the intersections of art and commerce by presenting a new way to buy art. The ideas for this show developed slowly. More than a decade ago I saw a "bed in a bag" product at a store. It was everything you needed to make a bed in a plastic bag: a comforter, pillow cases, a sham, fitted sheet and flat sheet. I thought it was funny idea and kind of cool, and had some vague ideas about doing the same thing and take all the elements, or hardware that was used to make a painting and package them together somehow. However, I never really figured out a way for that idea to come together and after a while I just forgot about it.
A couple of years ago , the thoughts came back to me when I noticed some construction workers using 5-gallon plastic buckets as impromptu tool boxes. One of them had a paint roller sticking out of his bucket. I had an epiphany about the using those buckets to hold the materials for my "bed in a bag" idea, which had now become a "painting in a bucket". I spent some time thinking about it and sketching out the particulars for the concept, but eventually I scrapped it, because I just couldn't imagine a complete show being comprised of only plastic buckets.
So I moved on and started developing a group of paintings based mostly on soda and beverage logos ("pop" art, get it?). They have a wide spectrum of references in these paintings including Coca-cola, Crush, and Snapple, as well as non potable innuendoes such as Facebook, Virgin, and an old-school version of the University of Syracuse basketball uniforms. There are varying levels of obviousness to these allusions , running the gamut from subtle, obscure homage to blatant, copyright-infringing, painstakingly-exact duplication. Compositionally, the paintings also span the dyad of simple and minimal to complex and busy. This is my attempt to imitate the sensation of looking a vast array of beverages in the aisle of an average grocery store. There are twelve paintings in the batch, with one each representing of the six "flavors" (primary and secondary colors) as well as six "diet" paintings (tints of the original colors). The slogans on the paintings are things I have heard people say about a color that made me laugh. Each of the paintings has a smaller logo that says "Livingston Paintings Pop" as a sort of signature for the group, tying them together and imitating a sort phantom parent company which physically produces the paintings and therefore adds it's stamp. Or, perhaps it's a co-branding (product placement)situation where another organization has fiscally contributed to the work and is entitled to add its advertising to painting. Either way I think the look of the additional tacked-on, disparate logo is a sign of the times, graphically speaking. It's something I both love and hate!
As I was working on the very specific designs for these paintings, I had an insight about the buckets I given up on. I decided they would make more sense if the materials included in the bucket were the specific materials needed to make a particular painting, not just a painting. And the next logical step would be that the particular painting in question would be hanging directly adjacent to its corresponding bucket. So I decided to tie the "art buckets" concept to the paintings I was already involved in. Inspiration for graphics on the bucket labels came courtesy of a Burger King Cup. I lovingly reproduced each nuance of the original cup in Adobe Illustrator over many months with much admiration for the source material. Then carefully and respectfully began to alter and stretch the original to fit the parameters and proportions of my own project. I and added the text and co-branded the labels to the paintings using the same "Livingston Paintings Pop" logo and a picture of each painting to its coordinating bucket label. When I was finally satisfied with the results I had them laser printed onto custom-cut, adhesive vinyl and affixed them to colored buckets for the regular colors, and white buckets for the diet colors.
Colin Livingston, 2013