ART & DESIGN

Behind the Scenes with Kon Trubkovich


Photographer: Vincent Dilio

In a new solo show at OHWOW gallery, artist Kon Trubkovich—who is best known for his painterly interpretations of snowy video stills—demonstrates his skills both as a painter and a filmmaker with a series of larger-than-life portraits of Ronald Reagan and a five-channel video. Snapped from a recording of Reagan’s famous Brandenburg Gates speech, the New York-based artist’s haunting work renders their political subject meaningless—leaving the viewer with an illustration of frozen time. Here, Trubkovich gives W a peek into the process.

Kon Trubkovich’s “House of the Rising Sun” is on view until February 14th at OHWOW gallery, 937 N. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, 310.652.1711.

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

Kon Trubkovich in his New York studio.

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“This body of work comes from these one-second video clips I found of Reagan and my mother. I’m not adding meaning to these images. They are already so overloaded with meaning without me. I’m more interested in playing trying to paint time and seeing the way memory becomes a form.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“I don’t see myself as a figurative or an abstract painter. I don’t make that distinction. The paintings to me are simultaneously abstract and figurative.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“The thing about the Reagan and the Mom paintings—they are not really paintings of Reagan or Mom. They are really facsimiles. They are windows into something else. You paint the same image, more or less, over and over again so that it loses meaning.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“I’m self-taught, so it has been years of trying different techniques out—making paintings that don’t work out is a big part of that process. When I was in my 20s, everything seemed so precious. If something didn’t work I would think that there was something wrong with me. Now I’m so happy when something fails.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“The paradox of these works is that they are actually paintings of a flat screen. There is no naturalism, but I look for the naturalism and pull it out until they feel alive.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“I have a profound attachment to the works until they leave the studio, and then poof! I’m on to the next thing. I lose a kind of ownership of them.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“It’s such a strange thing putting together a [first] book. You really have to go over work you did a long time ago. But, in the process, you begin threading it all together.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“I am so self-conscious about shooting something myself. I think that’s why I’ve been using a lot of found footage and family videos, because there is a kind of authenticity to that footage that I haven’t been able to accomplish myself.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“It wasn’t until I started dealing with the physical properties of film that I was finally able to weave things together in a way that was less about the visual meaning and more about the poetry of the image. It is also when my videos finally started to gel with my paintings. A kind of breakthrough.”