2011 - 2014
When greeting visitors to his studio, Troy Wandzel checks his hands before shaking theirs. A portrait painter, traces of his process permanently stain his hands, his shoes, his clothes, and almost everything he owns. Wandzel noticeably studies people’s faces as they enter his studio, a dilapidated and seemingly condemned home near the corner of 31st and Drayton Streets in Savannah, Georgia.
Inside, the studio has evolved into an obstacle course since his arrival four years ago. The smell of oil paint permeates the space, and the raw elements of his process chaotically pile on top of each other. Amongst the clutter of the studio lie hundreds of paintings – the successes, failures and works in progress haphazardly stacked and scattered throughout the 4,000-square-foot house. As such, the space itself provides a complex self-portrait, perhaps including the best of the volume of paintings Wandzel produces year after year.
These photographs unravel the putative, resolved nature of his paintings and reveal the flux of the image making process. The viewer is encouraged to consider the painting as the result of a course of actions, rather than as a stable image customarily seen on a gallery wall. During my three-year study of the space, I observed Wandzel as he uncannily reinvented his approach to his self-portrait. Recording Wandzel’s habits, curiosities, mistakes and revelations has inspired me to experiment more within my own medium. The ethereal quality of a pinhole stereoview, the tack sharpness of an 8x10 view camera, and the methodical rhythm of a time-lapse video all recontextualize the studio in its own unique way. The camera, and the many modes of manipulating this powerful tool, has given me a heightened sense of Wandzel’s process, his single-minded dedication and discipline, and the alchemy and complexity of his medium along with my own.
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