What Is Paint on Film?
Its an archive! Its a website! Its a documentary! Its an educational space! Its a studio! What this space is, may not be defined by one term. This website is an attempt to document my experience of working with artist Ed Kerns. It toys with new conceptions of non-narrative documentary and also functions as a digital archive space for the many paintings Ed and I have made which otherwise might never be put on display. The kind of work we do and exactly how it is done can be seen right here on the website. It is not the most complicated work, in fact its pretty simple, but it is an everyday job. Everyday that I come into to work for Ed, I clean his paint buckets and brushes, I build canvases for the both of us to use, I learn and reinterpret techniques that he teaches me, and hopefully together we create something beautiful. The simplicity and rawness of the videos and the functionality of the website are conscious efforts to bring the user closer to the actual process of painting this way. This is what it looks like, this is how it sounds, and this is first-hand documented proof of the time Ed Kerns and I have spent together and the artwork we have created.
Who are these People?
Ed Kerns is an American painter and educator. He studied with Grace Hartigan, the highly regarded American Abstract Expressionist. Through his friendship with Hartigan, Kerns came to know and work for many artists of the New York School, including Willem de Kooning, James Brooks, Philip Guston, Clyfford Still, and Sam Francis. Kerns’ career in New York had a meteoric trajectory. In 1972, his first exhibition at the Sachs Gallery on 57th Street in Manhattan garnered high critical praise. The New York Times, The Village Voice, Arts Magazine, ArtForum , and Artnews were among the numerous publications to praise his work. Kerns lived and exhibited in Manhattan for 12 years before coming to Lafayette College to chair and build the modern era Art Department. In 1987, Kerns was awarded the Eugene and Mildred Clapp Professorship of Art. He became the youngest person to hold an endowed
chair in the College’s history. Kerns has enjoyed a long association with the New York galleries of A.M. Sachs, Rosa Esman, Florence Lynch, and Howard Scott. His career has spanned a prolific 45 years. Kerns’ work has been shown in over 38 solo exhibitions and 130 group shows in New York, Paris, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, Denver, Rome, Madrid, Osaka, Munich, and Mexico City. In addition to painting and production of digital art, Kerns routinely collaborates with neuroscientists, biologists, computer scientists, and engineers. He is part of a growing group of artists and academics who embrace the emergent possibilities of consilience forming a broad partnership to explore the over-arching unity of knowledge.
Bobby Cloughen... that's me, the one who is creating this archival space and the man in the video to the left. I am student and an artist at Lafayette College. I have been painting working and painting with Ed Kerns since January of 2018. Since the start of our time painting together I have thought about how I could keep a record of our work. Many of the paintings Ed and I create are sold to private collectors or given to friends and family where they are often displayed privately. This has been one of the toughest things for me to get used to as an aspiring artist. I may never see some of my best works again. So I thought, why not create a digital space where they can live publicly? The site, and specifically the Archive of the Lost Paintings are my attempt to preserve and retrace the work Ed Kerns and I have done.