Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Last Pony

Lucy Hogg's installation of a large scaled equestrian painting, digital prints, and video is a meditation on the end of painting.

The Last Pony project is a meditation on the end of painting, at least the end of it for Lucy Hogg. Her image of a horse poised at the edge of a cliff is based on Whistlejacket by George Stubbs (c. 1762). Stubbs, at the request of his original patron, had left the background blank. Into that void Hogg has inserted the landscape from an earlier equestrian painting by first name Velasquez, his Phillip IV on Horseback (c. 1634). The Spanish monarch's reign has striking similarities to the second Bush administration. Riderless, the horse is about to plunge into the unknown. The figure represents either the epitome of autonomous action or a fearful flight.

Hogg's longstanding photographic interests are now merging with painterly ones that are receding. Working with a scan of a photograph of her equestrian painting, she realized the wide array of color schemes she could have used for the original. The computer, that is, provided options - "colorways" to use a term from commercial textile production that were unavailable in a traditional studio.

Once photographed, the white elephant of the museum-scaled history painting becomes artefact, documented in its last natural habitat of the studio, before it is unstretched and rolled away for storage. As a digital scan it becomes still further reproducible and customizable; the formerly unique object, already twice removed from its original authors, Velesquez and Stubbs, is domesticated for democratic consumption.

Meat Market Gallery
1636 17th Street NW

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