R. Mutt

R. Mutt

I can’t remember for sure, but I may have turned this painting in as one of my final painting assignments during my bachelor’s degree. Even if that is the case, there were no parameters to the assignment other than to turn in a certain number of paintings of my choice. I had just finished the Bedclothes painting and the idea of doing oil paintings in only black and white intrigued me. I suppose because you never see black and white oil paintings. So I went ahead and decided to do something that was sort of opposite from the Bedclothes composition. The tile and urinal are very geometric being predominantly either straight lines of the tile or the perfect circles of the plumbing. This allowed me to experiment more with perspective than the previous painting while still honing my skills in the spectrum of gray.

The title may perplex a lot of people, especially those who aren’t well versed in art history. R. Mutt is a reference to one of Marcel Duchamp’s pieces from the Dada period of the early 1900’s. Duchamp had this idea that art was whatever the artist said it was and that included even an upside down urinal. A piece called the Fountain he submitted to a show in New York he signed quite obviously with the name R. Mutt. It is hard to know for sure, but my research shows that this name was possibly taken from the owner of a prominent plumbing company in the area. I thought it would be only right to name this painting in honor of Duchamp since I am such a fan of the Dada period. It should also be noted that the source of the photograph this painting was taken from is the men’s bathroom at the Dunbar Post Office where I work. The idea was that I decided to paint the only thing in the office which actually did any work. That remains to be a truth even today.