He Ha! consists of three wall-sized paintings and a kinetic sculpture. The paintings contain repetitive text and were executed using a technique that I developed through drawing. The paintings are essentially scaled-up versions of my drawings; I hadn’t ever tried to do that before.
Back in December, I was cutting several sheets of computer paper down into 8” x 8.5” near-squares, so that they would approximate the proportions of Jeffrey Stark’s back wall. I intended to produce studies on the paper, and expand one of them into a painting. I noticed that on the backs of these particular sheets, I had, months earlier, written two words that were each the subject of a poster made for me by my Dad when I was a teenager. I found myself with several 8.5” x 3” strips of paper (remnants of the near-squares) that contained the last two or three letters of the words from my Dad’s posters: “NE / ON” or “INE / ION”. As soon as I saw these strips, I knew that they would become the content of the paintings for my show at Jeffrey Stark.
The sculpture at the center of He Ha!— two tubes that seem to float, spinning around each other—has words on it, too. In fact, it has two different types. Coming off of the tubes in thick impasto are fragments of the “NE / ON”s from the painting on the back wall. I rendered them in such a way that, as the rotating sculpture momentarily blocks one’s view of the back wall’s painting, the text protruding from the sculpture’s surface completes the painting’s interrupted message. This effect works best when the viewer is my height, and standing outside of the gallery, toes about 128” from the sculpture’s base.
The other bit of text comes from the tubes’ manufacturer, HUB, whose name and slogan (…Has It!) covers their surfaces in a repetitive, spiraling manner. I have obscured the majority of the HUB logos with textured white paint, but left several exposed because I like their yellowness within the context of the work in this show. I have subtly defaced a number of the logos. Several have letters painted out, so that they read “H..E…Ha…!” “He Ha!” to me points toward a smudged place between “HUB Has It!” and “NE / ON”.