Michael Stevenson. Disproof Does Not Equal Disbelief
From his refuge in upstate New York—the studio/ living complex where he enacted a late pivot back to figuration—the American painter Philip Guston once offered the following outburst to the question of how such a turn could happen.
"What kind of man am I, sitting at home, reading magazines, going into frustrated fury about everything and then going into my studio to adjust a red to a blue?"
Over time, this sparse utterance takes on an architectural form in the imagination, a model that proposes a tantalizing proposition when fleshed out. The painter's words situate us in two distinct yet adjacent rooms. The first: a lounge with a TV, its live feed constantly aflicker. The second, a space that's more sequestered, which we can simply understand as a place of production: "the studio." Between these spaces, the painter, often working through the night, is also the viewer or reader, shuffling back and forth as he navigates these two rooms. At a certain point, night becomes day, and we shuffle back and forth together, the presence of one room arriving in the other. [publisher's note]