Some of the most exciting paintings I’ve come across recently have been something a bit more than just paint on canvas. Work like Douglas Degges’ richly textured pieces add dimension to the medium that makes me want to dig into them–literally. Using materials like gypsum, caulk, and enamel, which are often used in plastering and other interior finishes, these pieces bring the materials we associate with the wall surface into the work. I love the subtlety of underlying colors showing through layers of paint and gypsum, much like old wall surfaces peeling and chipping away to reveal its past.
Degges’ paintings have lately taken a more minimal turn with the application of enamel and smoother surfaces. Still utilizing panel and gypsum as a base, the enamel adds a shiny finish which suggests nicks made in the surface, contrasting gloss and matte. Experimenting with a variety of colors brings out the effects that hue and light have on seemingly minor alterations to the surface and texture.
One thing that I love about his approach to artmaking is that while his pieces are strong, and presented in series are even stronger, he takes a focused collaborative approach in his practice. It’s refreshing and unique, offering as much insight and experimentation, through working alongside other artists and with other media, as he does with his own paintings. He is currently starting a collaborative mapping project with writer Chelsea Werner-Jatzke.
Degges most recently exhibited alongside Royce Weatherly at ArtHelix in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and he lives and works in Queens, NY. Find many more examples of his work and news about upcoming exhibitions and projects at douglasdegges.com.
All images are copyright Douglas Degges (douglasdegges.com) and used with the artist’s permission.