Saturday, December 27, 2008

Really blank:

This time it really is just a blank white canvas. Get mad. 12-26-2008
Digital Sketch.
Ken Weathersby
Click image to enlarge

The other Ken Weathersby:

the other ken weathersby (#6)
Googled Source Image.
My namesake appears to be delivering some bad news.
click image to enlarge

the other ken weathersby 6b, 12-2008,
Ken Weathersby
click image to enlarge

About Finland:

painting, ca. 1969
Unidentified Paint on Paper, approx. 18" x 16" (whereabouts unknown),
Ken Weathersby

If you are in Oulu, Finland, please feel free to get in touch.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Withdrawal of judgment 2:

d & G drawing 68, completed, photographed then destroyed 12-7-2008, Graphite on Paper, 41" x 32".
Ken Weathersby

click image to enlarge

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A corner:

studio corner on 11-30-08
click image to enlarge

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What is:

mise en abyme sketch, Digital. Ken Weathersby
click image to enlarge

Shapes in my paintings--

I have used borrowed and modified shapes from art history in some recent works: marcus & commodus (from two ancient Roman sculptures of emperors), murder of abel (from a medieval relief sculpture), now david & goliath (from a Renaissance painting). I derived specific contours from these works by pulling out figurative shapes for my own use.

In a different approach to getting shapes, I've made up randomesque, neutral shapes (not random in a Duchampian sense-- maybe more neutral in a Barthesian sense). These shapes are formally similar to the derived shapes but have no history other than a personal one. They emerge from scribbled notations made by me. That process could be seen as coming close to surrealist activity, but is done with an attitude of no interest in that. I'm not pulling forth treasure from the unconscious, just reproducing simple squiggles of my own that will do the job demanded by other factors.

The point in both cases is to get something the rectangles that I use in some paintings don't provide.
  • Irregular non-symmetrical shapes are needed for shapes to be recognized as possessing a common identity even when flipped, removed or rotated.
  • This identifiable quality is also what makes these conditions of change, difference and opposition perceptible.
There is the strange notion of physically different objects (separate inset panels or canvases) or even objects and absences (holes or openings with the same shape) seeming to share an identity-- seeming to be in some sense the "same thing". These "same things" can then be opposed in orientation, direction, availability, further complicating the understanding of what is.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Treat the given visual and physical features of drawing and painting (line, surface, paper, color, canvas, stretcher, graphite, paint, etc.) as terms in a lexicon, as objects, as things. Look at these as things neutrally. Neither reject them nor elevate them. Do not eliminate obvious ones from consideration. Do not seek obscure ones or invent a proliferation of new ones. Take them as distilled concretions of complex cultural discourses around art (including histories of: technical and material processes developed over time, processes of discovery, trial and error, and refinement of perceptual factors, elaboration in critical discourse, uses of such forms as building blocks toward different kinds of meaning [as rhetorical fragments], etc.) Examine them, handle them with skepticism. Realign them, open them up. Let them contradict or work at cross purposes. See them outside their normal rhetorical roles.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


click image to enlarge
Certain of my paintings are inspired by the Sienese Renaissance John the Baptist paintings at the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago. This fifteenth century painting cycle by Giovanni Di Paolo is composed of eccentric, complex, highly patterned spaces, through which an episodic narrative runs, relating the iconography of John’s story. In the first panel, the youthful figure of John enters on lower left, and then reappears at upper right of the same painting (in a so-called continuous narrative) turning away to disappear into the wilderness. (This image is also seen in Giovanni’s horizontal version of this painting at the National Gallery in London, shown above. In that case, two side panels flank the image, each depicting a blossoming flower on a long stem, turned to face away from the viewer. This detail of the London version is in fact the original seed of my interest in this string of metaphors in Giovanni Di Paolo's painting.) In the Chicago panel depicting St. John in prison (ninth panel of the original set of twelve, third of the partial sequence present in Chicago), the older, haggard-looking John appears in an inset-like frame-within-a-frame; he appears looking out through the bars of a cell where he is captive. The spatial and physical aspect of this situation is emphasized. His image tends toward consonance with the picture plane, placing the highly articulated bars slightly in front, screening (dramatizing, frustrating) our view of him. In Chicago’s fifth panel, we are returned to the same spatial setting, a view of John’s jail from the outside, but now the lower bars have been tangibly pulled aside (the mechanism is shown), John’s body has been pulled forward through the window (into our space?), and he has been beheaded (silenced).

Friday, October 3, 2008

Withdrawal of judgment:

d & G sketch, 10-2008, Digital. Ken Weathersby
click image to enlarge

Friday, September 19, 2008

Don't look:

the neutral (smpl-sketch), 2008, Digital Composite. Ken Weathersby
click image to enlarge

Friday, September 12, 2008

No face:

sketchbook, 12-16-2007, Ink on Paper Glued in Bound Book.
Ken Weathersby

click image to enlarge

"...An emotionally neutral ghost of the medium, ready to come to life at any time..."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Effect / Actual:

155, 2007, Acrylic on Canvas with Cut Out and Transposed Inset Canvases. Ken Weathersby
click image to enlarge

Knowledge of the neutrality of means contests aroused hopes of a magical dimension.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Named after:

This blog is named only for The Neutral, Roland Barthes' 1977-1978 course at the College de France. (Based on his lecture notes translated to English and published in 2005 by Columbia University Press.)

This blog is called The Neutral, and is about painting, exclusively in reference to the following, from Conceptual Art (MIT Press, ed. by A. Alberro and B. Stimson, page 51):
"...This neutral painting is not however freed from obligations; on the contrary, thanks to its neutrality and absence of style, it is extremely rich in information about itself..."

This blog will be referred to as The Neutral solely in homage to Sonic Youth's song
The Neutral (from the album Rather Ripped):
"...he's just neutral and he's weary
not even brand new..."