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DT: Your work centers on devastated sites of architecture and commerce.
It is difficult, in a post- 9/11 context not to read the images
politically. Was this political aspect something that you thought about pre 9/11 or
is it just recently inherited content?
BP: Just after 9/11 art articles began appearing which pointed toward shows up at that time which were instantly recontextualized, even work just recently reviewed was rethought. Art is in fact understood to parallel great and horrible world events and is connected to that lineage. It is possible to interpret the work as centering on destruction from the perspective of 9/11 but in this work there is no such political aim. To me these sites are organic and to convey that is my primary goal. Art is essentially a construct - in direct opposition to destruction, and these pictures exemplify this point. These sites are not devastation

DT: Your work has been described as playing with the tension between
abstraction and representationalism but I see the abstractness of your
forms and lines more as the byproduct of your process rather than an
intentional distancing. Is this true?
BP: Yes. You could also say that the representation is a byproduct of the process as well. I aim for neither and yet both qualities combine naturally. I do of course try to articulate a specific place and there is an emphasis on resolving a realistic image. Though, through various conscious steps certain distortion occurs which transfer the site from its original actual location (as well as its state). Those changes do not quite abstract the situation nor represent it precisely.

DT: I'm interested in the intersection of photography and drawing in your
work. The images are based on digital photographs that you make at the
sites, stitch together into a panoramic section, that you then use as a
pattern to guide your drawing of the image (via a carbon layer) onto
manipulated rag paper. Your drawing is similar to the process of tracing
which de-emphasizes the "act" of seeing through drawing. So, what is it
about the act of drawing that compels you?
BP: I take digital photographs to make drawings. I like your use of the word guide - my drawings are guided by these photographs. I have little interest in the kind of free form usually associated with drawing as it too often degrades into self-conscious mark making. The drawing that I do is a mechanical act intended to function in a specific way. The use of a predetermined layout enables me to have a clear start and end to the picture. In contrast to the feeling of being finished with something, I am done when I reach the other side of the page. Although this may seem cold, it is actually an intimate situation as much interpretation of the visible image takes place.
My objective is to transport the experience that I have had - locating sites, hopping fences, walking in black puddles and breathing in mysterious dusts - taking in the wholeness of the complex and contemplating how particular views will transfer to the paper. The photos are a temporary reference for the purpose of transferring my experience to the viewer of a drawing.

DT: There is a certain romanticism in your work. You seem situated as
somewhat of an archeologist in an epic search - even your vocabulary
(the use of the word "site") tends to exoticize your pursuit and suggest myth-making.
BP: My subject is beautiful. First, I revere the places I find and I elevate them from that source. An archeologist searches for answers from the past in order to articulate an exact order to things but my locations are not significant in this manner. They simply reach back throughout our century and functioned at one time in average ways. It is the way they exit that seems to me to be so mysteriously organic and universal. These drawings are documents not myths, the testament to the sites lies in innovation not folklore.

Printed in the catalog SITEUNSEEN
October 2002