Blair Vaughn-Gruler on modernism, postmodernism, and her recent body of paintings.
Blair Vaughn-Gruler makes paintings that exist at the intersection of abstract expressionism (gestures loaded with magical thinking) and postmodernism (information and methodology oriented), through a process that seeks to facilitate and mediate a coexistence of divergent art historical philosophies.
Or, in her words, “I’m working to mediate and reconcile the witch and the scholar, the impulse and the plan, the past and the present, or the body and the mind through procedures that involve paint, time, and rules.”
She received her MFA in visual art in 2010 and began making work with a focus on process. In her painting, each procedure is planned as a response to the previous layer: neat rows are interrupted by drips or splatters, and random gestures are reorganized by repetitive marks.
“I often use procedures and rules in my painting processes as techniques to mediate and meld two realities in art history: modernism and postmodernism, which both occupy substantial space in my brain.” She continues, “I labored under the mythology around abstract expressionism for about forty years before waking up to the reality that postmodernism had become the relevant paradigm.” Postmodernism foregrounds history, research, information, and methodology over broad strokes and magical thinking.
“I have discovered that no matter how much I try, I can’t erase that early indoctrination of modernism. So I have decided (or realized) that it’s better to live with, and even honor, those modernist impulses, even as I remain firmly entrenched in the information age,” Vaughn-Gruler explains.
Vaughn-Gruler’s latest body of work will be presented at Walker Fine Art in Denver in a group exhibition that centers around process, opening on July 22, 2022.
The work for the upcoming Walker Fine Art exhibition will explore in more detail how a philosophical and physical relationship plays out in Vaughn-Gruler’s painting practice. The exhibition will include several large-scale paintings that combine intuitive gestures mitigated by repetitive mark-making and spatial organization combined with deliberate edges and measured boundaries.
New work by Blair Vaughn-Gruler can also be seen at Kay Contemporary Art on Canyon Road and at GVG Contemporary (by appointment) in the Siler Rufina Arts district in Santa Fe, and starting in June, at the Lori Austin Galleries in Northern California.