Abraham Piper is an artist in Minneapolis, Minnesota whose paintings could be described as abstract, ironic, gestural, viscerally inconsistent, glibly existential, and — according to his daughter — so pretty.
In Piper’s opinion, you can learn everything you need to know about his work by just looking at it. But if it’s important to you to get his take on the philosophical underpinnings of his paintings (boring), your best bet is to just corner him and start asking pointed questions.
He's too polite (cowardly) to walk away, so you'll probably get answers, reluctant though they may be.
In the meantime, his “artist statement” is simple…
I make stuff I want to hang on my walls. If other people want to hang it on their walls, too, we can make that happen.
This lazy quote actually took me like two weeks to get from him even though he was the one who asked me to write this About page for him. But after all the procrastinating, he apparently started to wax more introspective, because a few minutes later he sent a follow up email:
Hey, sorry for the delay on all this. I really appreciate your help… One more thought:
If you think about it, ‘What is art’ is mainly a domestic question. Sure it can be bandied about in public discourse like it’s culturally important (which it is…a little bit) but when and how do most of us really experience art?
At home! Sitting in the living room or lying in bed or looking through our shower doors at whatever’s above the toilet. It’s the walls of our own houses and apartments where we interact the most often and the most intimately with visual art.
And that’s what I want to create for. Blank walls. Ideally blank walls in the spaces where people feel free to put down the facade of caring about “important” art and just want things to make them feel comfortable, remind them of something they felt one time, and maybe but not necessarily spark a conversation or two.
In this scenario, ’What is art’ stops being a big, philosophical question and becomes a personal one instead. Like I said, it’s a domestic question. It’s most interesting when it's asked between partners over a second bottle of wine, not by critics holding forth in articles that only 23 people read, counting their editor.
Art is whatever you and your cohabitators think is worth hammering a nail into the wall for. If that’s one of my paintings, awesome. If it’s a live-laugh-love mirror from Bed Bath and Beyond, you know what, go wild. Be you. That’s awesome, too.
There. Is that better? Enough to make an About page out of?
Yes. That should give me what I need to work with.