"We should save our paint rags and sell them as ties," Max Bates said during a cocktail party at John and Kathleen Snow's studio home in 1965-66 with the Allied Arts Centre circle of artists, dramatists, writers, and classical musicians of Calgary, Alberta, Canada in attendance. The party was thrown to celebrate Mr. and Mrs. Bates return visit to Calgary from Victoria. I was 17 or 18 years old and working as a printer’s assistant in John Snow’s studio publishing a series of Maxwell Bates lithographs.
Mr. Bates was referring to abstract expressionism or “process art,” which is conceived while painting without a finished piece in mind. Over many years I have come to understand the directness of Mr. Bates' thought.
Years later while studying the art of Charles, the alpha gorilla, at the Toronto Zoo for an Australian documentary company I learned that animal “artists” achieve abstraction easily. It is difficult for humans to make that kind of art because we require a concept out of which processes and techniques are applied to make the product. We need the entire production be rational and meaningful. Detachment was a spiritual goal of the 1950’s. Abstract Expression was an art without planning called "action painting." It was introduced as the painted representation of existentialist ideals.
This showing as is not abstract expression; it is a conceptualization of a gallery installation which will never take place. It is a push of abstract expressionism into post-modern. I ignored the great goal of modernism: to be original. I have appropriated an art concept and placed it into an absolutely conceptualist arena where there is no dimension of time or space. There is only programming idea. There exists nothing only code which is reproduced digitally upon your computer screen.
Can the rags be had?
Sure, Max said “We can sell them as ties.”
I say, "How about dew rags"?
If you click on the "start show" text an array of ties will pop up. Click on a tie to load a detail interactive Flash program which helps you to twists the ties.