Billie Mandle uses her camera as an epistemological tool. The thing about her pictures that gets under your skin is not so much their silence as it is their brazen, stubborn refusal to resolve into familiar certainties. To look at one of her photographs is to invite dangerous uncertainties like truth, belief, and justification to have their proper seats with you at the table, and once seated the do not go away easily. You might just as well set off a bomb in the middle of your living room, the effect would be the same. The only thing these pictures leave you with is the hope of something like a genuine dialog: seeing as touch, seeing as negotiation, seeing as a way of growing closer to the peculiar state of things as they are and not as we think they should be. Seeing till, in the end, we are (always and eternally) standing somewhere rich and strange.
Michael Zachary: The act of painting is a necessity for me: what Wallace Steven called the poem of the mind in the act of finding what will suffice.
My paintings record a way of exploring driven by curiosity, experiment, and formal scrutiny. The poetry in my work does not lie in the virtuosity of its construction or in the comfort of a familiar aesthetic. Rather, the poetry in my paintings is the product a continuous chain of decisions, each an uncompromising stab at what will suffice at each given moment. These decisions gather together the time and the necessity of the paintings making, and it is within the gestalt they form that the poetry of that making resides.
Somewhere behind that poetry lies the target I am shooting for in every painting I make: a freedom won through the constant embrace of impermanence, openness, necessity, and play in the world.