“I want to paint to represent some image, but I also want the paint to stay paint. I like the joy of the material.”
In three people are gathered around a table laden with wine bottles and plates of food. Most of the background imagery is nonexistent, and the figures are surrounded by white. Details, like the food on the plates, the wine labels, and other objects on the table, are abstracted and rendered with quick and loose brush strokes. The image appears like a memory only half-remembered. The title — like all of Weiss’ titles — is nonsensical in that it wasn’t chosen to match what’s happening in the scene, but it isn’t random, either. Each title in the exhibition is derived from a line by one of the psychoanalysts and philosophers who have influence the direction of his work.
There is also a coalescing of form and shape in the paintings where aspects jump out with a dreamlike sense of realism. His paintings appear to be rendered wet-on-wet and recall works by early 20th-century figure painters like Robert Henri, but Weiss tends to balance realism with abstraction, using abstraction to reinforce the conceptual aspects of the compositions. “I want to paint to represent some image, but I also want the paint to stay paint,” he said. “I like the joy of the material.”
Weiss treats the surface of the painting as a stage where small dramas from the psyche play out, and he takes semblances of places he’s lived and combines them with elements from other places, or fills the scene with people who were never there. Part of the work is personal, meant to trigger recognition of his own repressed memories. “I, for some reason, feel an inclination that I very much want to see those things,” he said. “I’m fascinated by how repression functions and why it functions. That’s really the project. I want to find out what I’ve hidden from myself.”