Dungeons, Dragons and Art (Kadar Brock)

Sep 12, 2013 / by Allyson Shiffman / Interview Magazine

Brock's current exhibition at New York's The Hole, titled "Dredge," features a series of these shredded canvases, hung sparsely throughout the space. Together they are the result of hours of labor-intensive art making, proof that, although Brock aims to "demystify" the artist, the works are still very much a product of his hands.

The exhibit is complemented by the work of Kasper Sonne, another artist whose pieces exemplify the beauty of destruction, in his case by setting his works on fire. "The starting point is my interest in exploring dichotomies," explains Sonne. "The paintings are painted using a roller instead of a brush to make a perfect monochrome painting. Then they're set on fire. Control is contrasted by chance. Perfect by imperfect." It is a dichotomy evident in both Sonne and Brock's work. Destruction can rarely, if ever, be controlled.

We caught up with Brock on plush beanbag chairs at The Hole to chat about the exhibition, ritualizing art and, of course, Dungeons and Dragons.

ALLYSON SHIFFMAN: At what point did you know you wanted to pursue art professionally?

KADAR BROCK: I think I was 10 years old. I used to make cartoons and comic books with friends. My dad had a book of Picasso paintings in his apartment and he said, "Look at these!" I was like, "Oh, these are really cool." And he goes, "Yeah, these are millions of dollars!" I said, "You can do that? That sounds great! I want to do that."SHIFFMAN: [laughs] It was a moneymaking vocation?

BROCK: It was more like, oh, I can do that and be rich? That seems great. Instead of drawing comic books, which is a functional application of art, if I'm totally self-indulgent and just make whatever I want to make and talk about whatever I want to talk about, people will actually pay me to do that? [laughs] I can do that?

SHIFFMAN: How did your parents react?

BROCK: My parents split up when I was really young. My dad was the "weekend dad" who was always really supportive, and my mom was the practical mom who was trying to discipline me.

SHIFFMAN: What's the point of your art-making?

BROCK: [laughs] There are a couple points. One is that I don't know what the fuck else I'd do with myself. I have all this time, and I figured I'd fill up that time by making paintings. In a larger context, it makes me happy and hopefully it makes other people happy. It sets up a situation where I can talk to people and share life experience and share ideas. More specifically, it's about talking about belief structures in painting and in abstraction and using that to talk about larger emotional and psychological life phenomena... [laughs] Maybe.

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