If Garry Noland’s studio were ten times smaller, it would be a mess. Instead the massive workspace he inhabits for long hours nearly every day at the Studios Inc. Building in the East Crossroads is a rather spare, clean space with several messes, each one succinctly separate—but related—to the other. These piles of different kinds—debris, paper, tape rolls, old artwork—are like siblings. They clearly come from one place, and their patriarch is a benevolent father, allowing his materials to do as they might with a loose semblance of authority and understanding.
Where the family analogy ends is with his lack of attachment for these piles and their products. His artwork—ranging fuzzily from wall-hangings to floor sculptures—is allowed to exist independent of him and his initial expectations or wishes. “Each piece is a rehearsal for the next,” he calmly tells me, trading patient glances between my eyes and distant corners of the room, “I’m really excited to see what my last piece looks like.” He smiles from the side of his face and waits for me to join him.
This detachment from the objects Noland puts forth as “art” shouldn’t be confused with a lack of commitment in his process. To the contrary, the charm of Garry Noland and the space that is unmistakably his studio is his lack of concern for the conventions of presentation. His studio is unlike so many others. It is not packed full or over-thought to impress. Nor is it cleverly swept clean of inroads to his process. From observing Noland’s studio, one can more clearly see that many studios, large and small, are over-pronounced defenses of martyrdom and commitment, rife with insecure theatrics. A conversation with Noland or a tour of his studio reveals the fact that he set such things aside from the beginning.
Noland represents the third of six generations to live in his Jackson County home, and his rootedness permeates everything from his understanding of home to the way he describes his own purpose. “I’m interested in pattern…that which is, that which is not,” Noland says, waving his arm toward the repeated details of one particular piece made out of lake-weathered foam, “each piece requires me to be physical with it, but I don’t have to be intellectual. They’re about the process. Beginning again.”
Noland's work will be on display in a solo exhibition entitled "Floor Samples and Test Patterns" at the Studios Inc opening Friday, November 8, 2013.