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Much of the following statement was written for me by an implementation of GPT-2, an AI-powered text-prediction engine. I have played shepherd with the engine, providing a few sentences here and there of my own to lead it in the desired direction. I hope you will cherry-pick what is useful to you and maybe even give some attention to what is easily written off as nonsense.


A stone easily convinces me of itself—an Object, a thing, with a shape and well-defined boundaries. This collection of paintings was motivated by that impossibility—by a stubborn delusion and by its absence in brief moments of clarity. The collection constitutes a confused grappling with an ontological perspective in which objects do not exist and everything is intrinsically empty.


We define Objects by drawing useful but ultimately arbitrary lines around this, declaring everything else not this. We pretend our lines say something True about the world. Usually we give names to the things we draw lines around. In much the same way, I have drawn a line around a series of paintings and I have named it: Utterly Persuaded By A Stone, I am Immediately Confronted by the Refutations of a Cloud.


The paintings are mostly abstract paintings because because objects do not exist and all paintings must be abstract paintings. This is the antithesis of the realist approach. It is the same as saying that all things are created by a single, fixed and universal process: the Idea. When these abstract paintings were drawn, they were drawn in a way that makes them unrepresentative of the full range of the object or the world in which they are drawn. It is a kind of denialist ontology of objecthood. For example, there is a painting that is based on a simple truth: that I am immediately confronted by the refutations of a cloud. The refutation is that this cloud consists of nothing but a process. The process consists of... Maybe you see where I am going with this. The painting is not all paintings.


About the artist:


Zachary Olpin is a professional amateur and hobbyist painter based in Salt Lake City. He did briefly try to study art in college, but it did not work out for him. He sells tickets to purchase paint and sometimes he sells a painting to pay his rent. He was a member of the Salt Lake City chapter of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His works were exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City from May to June, 1886. Zachary was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Olpin, and three sons, Zachary, William and Benjamin Olpin.

Artist website:

Instagram: @zacharyolpin

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