Spring Street Studios: Page Piland

Paige Piland (US-born), is a graphic designer with a BFA from UT Austin. As a resident of Spring Street Studios, I’ve visited several times during the 2nd Saturday Open Studios which I’ve recommended to you before.

The first works I saw can be described as quite large with liberal use of free space, and space elements that tell a story in a minimal kind of way. The work demonstrates a mastery of materials and processes, to be sure. In particular, “Vigil for the Old Lifeguard” (a finalist in the 2015 Hunting Prize), is incredibly successful in that it causes disorientation without being annoying. As a piece that really does need to be seen in person, I have to say, “wow”. It’s haunting, mesmerizing qualities are understood when you learn that its Piland’s tribute to his deceased brother who used to be a lifeguard.

Fast forward to last year when he revealed a new body of work in which an actual piece of wood is put into a regular, stretched canvas so that the surface of the board is co-planar with the canvas. This is quite a feat for your standard painter but by now you know Poland is not your standard painter! I would argue that the result is a wall sculpture although it’s certainly not obvious when you first see the pieces. Certainly the photos provided here don’t completely convey the work but we have to start somewhere. I provided a couple detail shots hoping you get the idea but go see it in person.

The third body of work I’m sharing with you is actually his oldest – dating to 1994. At that time, he used a modified printmakers process in which he would apply an oil painting to a sheet of Plexiglass. While the oil was still wet, a piece of paper would be placed on top and pressure applied such that some of the oil would transfer to the paper. The artist would then hand-modify the monotype to his liking. This process was repeated 4 times per plate. I think these photographed reasonably well.

Always ready with a story, Piland’s open, sharing personality is evident in his works. As with most artists that catch my eye, this one’s a story teller. Reaching into family memories, compositions are created that have universal appeal.

View the artist’s impressive exhibition history is here.

Contact the artists by email or visit during a 2nd Saturday event at 1824 Spring Street, Houston, 77007.

(All photos by Matt Adams unless stated otherwise.)

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