Billy Coulthurst, Seed Mother
December 4 - 20, 2021
Burnished surface of a cartoonesque wooden duck… bisected burrows of rabbits who perform their domestic life under the warm glow of a camera… wry enquiring owl... man with a sickly hue.
This “man without Gucci” as Coulthurst’s mum suggested, gropes along flashing panicked or even rabid eyes. He’s touched with a certain Hollywood Golden Age luridness. With tones of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, which The New Yorker at the time called masterful self-parody, in part by making “the sinister figures on hand look like red-cheeked baby giants.”
Coulthurst used his hands, which were themselves models for the figure’s hands, to paint the mud. Any distinction between earth, paint, corporeal, and aesthetic is collapsed in a way that brings on acid-lucidity. It’s all in the swill. The surface is lovingly worked and the subjects flippantly sifted. Can you be elbow deep and ambivalent? Coulthurst is when the subject dissolves into the object of the painting. The feathers that are paint brushes, that mud that is handled.
A solution to being in a relationship with family members who are physically dispersed is the rhizomatic burrow. Some people can talk to their mums about their feelings, some people talk to their mums about their art, some can’t.
The anxiety of gathering nuts for the winter, an E(vil) G(ay) squirrel exhibits traits of OCD or ADHD and hints that it’s too late to get down on our knees in the dirt.
The castrated penis buried in the burrow, maybe lost by the man in his process of dehumanization, seeds it. Surrounded by critters perverted by humanity, mud-man’s urgent crawl out of, or deeper into this muck is understandable. Either get out of the swill and rebuild nature’s border wall, or roll in deeper and get on with mutating.