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Tony May 'A View Showing the Draw-Pin Latch...'

Tony May’s documentary paintings are precisely that: a record of the installations, projects and repairs he’s completed over the years. Done in a realist style with plainly stated (and occasionally humorous), hand-lettered captions, May's paintings have the utilitarian aesthetic of a how-to manual. However, by applying the same attention to detail that he affords his craftsmanship, he elevates these humble interventions, making them significant.

 

“A lot of the [paintings] rely on happy accidents… something that strikes me as odd or curious, yet viable. A lot of earlier ones were much more consciously striving to be 'art,' but I think I almost abandoned making art in a sense. Before I did the 'Home Improvements' paintings, I really was just doing home improvements." May, 2011

Text and image

Tony May, A View Showing the Draw-Pin Latch (a) and Hinged Door Panel (b), 2018. Acrylic on panel in artist-made frame, 10 x 11 inches.

Tony May’s documentary paintings are precisely that: a record of the installations, projects and repairs he’s completed over the years. Done in a realist style with plainly stated (and occasionally humorous), hand-lettered captions, May’s paintings have the utilitarian aesthetic of a how-to manual. However, by applying the same attention to detail that he affords his craftsmanship, he elevates these humble interventions, making them significant.

“A lot of the [paintings] rely on happy accidents… something that strikes me as odd or curious, yet viable. A lot of earlier ones were much more consciously striving to be ‘art,’ but I think I almost abandoned making art in a sense. Before I did the ‘Home Improvements’ paintings, I really was just doing home improvements.” May, 2011

Detail 1

detail, Tony May, A View Showing the Draw-Pin Latch (a) and Hinged Door Panel (b), 2018. Acrylic on panel in artist-made frame, 10 x 11 inches.

Detail 2

detail, Tony May, A View Showing the Draw-Pin Latch (a) and Hinged Door Panel (b), 2018. Acrylic on panel in artist-made frame, 10 x 11 inches.