14 Secret Masters Of The Universe

FL!GHT Gallery

November 20, 2015 7:00 pm - November 20, 2015 11:00 pm


‘14 Secret Masters of The Universe’


Stitt & Cobb’s installation ‘The 14 Secret Masters of The Universe’ is the result of a period of collaborative production and research as artists in residence at Flight Gallery in San Antonio during the fall of 2015. Studio work during this time included periods of research at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, and the Donald Judd Foundation in Marfa, West Texas.

For Stitt & Cobb their collaboration has involved an ongoing practical and theoretical discourse that explores assumptions about shared histories, artistic collaboration, and how painting in particular can be experienced as an expanded practice. As Ann Ring Peterson has said, ‘..the expanded field of painting still has to overcome the rather fixed expectations of its audience.” (Contemporary Painting in Context, 2013) The focus of the work at Flight gallery has its roots in a shared history going back to the early nineteen eighties. It was during this time that James Cobb facilitated André Stitt’s legendary performance art
appearance at Blue Star Gallery in San Antonio. Several visits with shows by Stitt resulted over the years that in turn resulted in a prestigious exhibition of James Cobb’s digital work at Trace gallery in Cardiff, Wales in 2003.

With ‘The 14 Secret Masters of The Universe’ Stitt & Cobb’s
common backstory has been partially plundered to reveal remnants from their engagement with the lost world of aggressive cultural workers and marginal networks. This parallel universe inhabited by ‘outsider’ practitioners compels us to question the very nature of our perception and dependency on everyday consistency. By subsuming their source
material into a dominant western painting hegemony and reconfiguring it as installation Stitt & Cobb are inviting us to share in the illusive reality of ‘the zeitgeist’ or indeed; pure trash cleanly expressed. The paintings in the form of modular wood panels is a reflection on the materiality of the built environment and its abstract displacement as a memory of forms reimagined as a parallel universe. Memory, recall, and embodied experiences are employed to interrogate issues of devotional power, systemic corruption, utopian ideologies, and the architecture of neo-human control in a chaotic universe. This often reveals itself as a searching out of small elusive
moments and unconscious dilemmas that may implicate us in a larger communal, collective or cosmological narrative. Paint is utilised as a synthetic transmitter of experience that reflects the historical uncertainty of time and place; proposing contemporary genre painting as a transformative medium with redemptive potential. As such, Stitt & Cobb see their painting practice occupying a liminal space that might be defined as ambiguous or ‘atemporal’ abstraction. A position that is not static or fixed but part of a network where all eras co-exist. Stitt & Cobb position their installation/painting here in an ‘atemporal’ zone where it can be produced without an agenda based on a received meaning of a style.