The Uses of Time
by Brian Kelly
The uses of time.
The re-use of 2017 by 2018.
The re-use of Christmas, birthdays.
The re-use of a joke.
The re-use of air and water.
The re-use of memory.
The re-use of feelings.
'There are no new feelings,' a close friend of mine likes to tell me when I describe a recent hurt as though it were new. Part of knowing yourself, she says, is to know what you’re feeling and then you’ll pick up on the patterns. These paintings are pictures of the world you might see if our connections and feelings took form between us. Pictures of emotional habits and tools.
The green marks Julian has painted bring up the complexity that life springs on most adults. The idealized rural backdrops present a child’s view of a world without conflicts. One is before and one is now and together they touch the familiar battle within of old feelings at work in current situations.
Thus the least apparent re-use may be the re-use of feelings. We experience this when familiar events from memory are re-played for familiar outcomes. A happy memory is returned to in order to feel happy. Fires of anger and frustration are fed so that we can re-experience isolation and loss again. The power of familiarity. Our knack for putting ourselves in situations where our emotional expectations, low or high, are met by feelings we have in supply - resentment, disappointment, pride, is evidence that we are in part replay machines, however (un)aware we may be of it.
Everything we see, we select. The paintings and photos we hang, the calendars, the desktops, every image - they’re all pictures for use, reference, and guidance through emotional life. Everything including movies we watch, songs we listen and re-listen to or revisit are for use to locate where we are and how we feel about it now.
What’s really touching about the paintings is that they work like poems. You have to discern the way the language is being used. And even if you can’t decide what they’re saying you’ve found yourself looking inside for something within to connect to. These paintings present a sense of awareness. As soon as you look at them you’re in mid-question - What does the green paint say about the images they’re painted on top of? They’re like plays you’re in the middle of writing.
'The re-use of 2017 by 2018. The re-use of Christmas, birthdays. The re-use of a joke. The re-use of air and water.’ published by Pace Gallery, London for an exhibition of Julian Schnabel’s paintings May 13, - June 18, 2018