"…we’re all small and our lives so short."– Helen MacDonald
Livingston uses acrylic paint skins and paint pours to create her elegant paintings. Whether it’s a draped painting, a collapsed grid or a dragged painting, the works nod to the patina of time is a poetic way of talking about the aged, worn out, collapsed, sagging, and dysfunctional.
Livingston created these paintings, or paint objects, from single sheets of acrylic paint skins or by pouring paint over three-dimensional grids made of string. Some paint skins are stretched over wood frames (no traditional canvas is used), another is draped over a peg, and another is created from paint skin fragments sewn together and pinned to the wall. She even created a harness based on those worn by body builders for strength training so that she could drag paint skin covered stretchers down the road.
Dragging around the literal weight of a large painting is a fitting metaphor for her studio practice goals right now. History lionizes macho gestures, but she's looking for something more personal: new insights into the mash-up of irony, humor, emotional pain, and earnestness that has driven her work over the past eight years.
Dragging a paintingdown the road is a comic gesture turned dark. Margie Livingston's original intension was to harm it so that she could explore the rich possibilities of mending. The performative aspect of the dragged paintings speaks to Pollock's action paintings as well as to Christian Marclay's "Drag Piece."
The enactment provoked irrational associations and behaviors. When a man stopped her and warned her that she'd dropped something, Margie blurted out, "I know, I'm taking it for a walk." Livingston says that she immediately felt like the Log Lady of Twin Peaks, swamped with embarrassment and shame but also flooded with the recognition of a sensation new to her art practice.