Category : A3 – Gesture Painting

A3 – Time & Dissociation //

  • A3 – Time & Dissociation //
  • A3 – Time & Dissociation //
  • A3 – Time & Dissociation //

Based on my developing works (TIME-SCREEN I and TIME-SCREEN II as well as the spin-off idea), I decided to develop following aspects further:

  • gesture : the human presence and its dissociative (dis-)appearance 
  • frame / screen : the disruptive plane
  • projection / performance : the fragmented reality

I’ve noticed that visual elements can add strongly to a narrative created by the viewer (see peer feedback on performative moving image and on still paintings) . Also the gesture as the act of touch , but also of failure.

Some questions that I will address with my assignment:

  • How could these three elements be embedded into convincing work? 
  • How can I leverage and explore materiality to the extend to creating meaning and knowledge?
  • How could the painting support function as a carrier of meaning?
  • How could the viewer be engaged through an interactive or participatory co-creation act ?
  • How can my painting cross boundaries of abstract and figurative painting? 
  • How could the work push myself into new territories and knowing?

I found the following elements intriguing and supporting above questions:

  • material:
    – perspex, transparent layers for multiple viewpoints (screening, reflections, mirror, framing)
    light / projection: light as a painterly act for making visible (projection beam, projections of recorded observations, light transgressing translucent layers (perspex, oil or watercolor washes)
    stencil approach: playing with positive and negative shapes plus surrounding space 
    – acrylic transfer process: loss of information due to material imperfections and variations in control of process
  • gesture:
    – depiction of gesture: crossing, transgressing, interacting
    – gesture of making it: my presence, control, loss of control, failure, imperfections
  • frame:
    – enforcing and dissolving containment, being inside the frame or outside the frame, being framed by viewing experience
    – a possibly more interesting combination of painted areas and line (frame, gestural)

Layered painting

Screen gesture – ideas to push forward. Perspex plate in between two paintings, striations informed by double projection artefacts (Fig. 1 – 2 – with ideas no.1  – 4).

to open in lightbox view, click on the small arrow bottom right

=> no3: background with a higher quality in execution, more translucency, the painted hand on mylar perhaps with a more ‘fleeding’ character. How to embed surrounding light as performative ‘paint’?  I find the opaqueness, though using only translucent oil washes, as too dense, perhaps in a combination with more transparent layers more successful, being more informed with the light-induced screen performance.

Embracing coincidences

While making and laying out my ideas (Fig 1-2) I discovered a reflection of the studio light (Fig. 3), considering it as a light performance, and making a short video from my and my phone camera moving forward and backward (a bodily gesture). The image taken (Fig 3) was especially fascinating: one might get the idea as if the light reflection is hold between the two depicted hand gestures (negative and positive shape). What in itself might be just another visual element stipulating various responses.

Stefan513593 - A3 - screen gesture - scan as gesture?

Fig 3: Screen gesture – element of chance – layering and reflection – scan as gesture?; a combine: background layer, embodied reflection, negative and positive gesture

 

The up and down of the reflected light reminded me of a scanning process, like a scanner. The reflection becomes embodied, as only through by body gesture I can animate the painting and the light beam starts to scan up and down. The animation is not any longer through a time-based sequence of still images, but a still image animated by the viewer. I find this an fascinating idea and did wonder how this could be developed further. Therefore, I amended one of my initial questions above:

  • How could the viewer be engaged through performative reflection as interactive or participatory co-creation act ?

Nevertheless, I made a video as a juxtaposition of the performing reflected light on the painting and a recorded sequence from my open scanner, an interior view of the scanner: Scan as Gesture (0:05 min). 

This observation of chance made me reflect how relevant this could be for my parallel project: MRI as a process is physically more related to proton spins and impact of electro-magnetic fields, but is a also a slicing, or scanning process and it is often referred to as a MRI scan. A very fascinating discovery, reminding me also of Helen Chadwick‘s photocopier approach for her work ‘Of Mutability‘ and Oval Court, 1986. Kind of inside the machine, the scanner, not literally, more metaphorically, something to look deeper at in my parallel project.

A3-sketchbook - visual thinking 1

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Fig. 4: visual thinking 1 - sketchbook – developing ideas for execution; a multilayered approach

I do relate the application of paint in stripes to aspects of: striations (as experimented earlier in context of coding information, but also glitches), screening (the aspect of horizontal structure and patterns of image creation on screens, the way we read images and image-texts horizontally forward and return), and scanning (related to how we scan visual information, related to MRI scanner). In my sketchbook (Fig. 4) a mapping of my ideas for building the layered painting. And considering striations as one key element to explore through paint.

My plan for this assignment project is mostly informed by my previous Time & Screen paintings and especially above layered image with 6mm perspex plate (Fig. 3) and sketched down in my sketchbook (Fig.4). To work in parallel on the three (or more?) layers aka building blocks consisting of visual and color information informed by my previous works (enactment performance, video, paintings of screening and viewing) alongside the gesture as the entry portal to engage, to seek meaning, to find narratives etc:

  • Background: a more opaque painted screen, like a viewing screen, a pattern informed by my previous experiments 
  • Middle Ground: a layer in between the background and the gesture, not too opaque and not too transparent
  • Foreground: a cut out hand-gesture, painted, a moving appeal

I did work mostly with transparent materials (perspex, rhenalon, mylar) as these not only embrace a light infusing quality, also they would possibly act in a similar with performing reflective light as observed (Fig. 3), preferably in oil as oil washes are much more luminous than in acrylic.

Building blocks

Exploring ideas on materiality in trying to answer some of above questions, or better, to raise questions related those aspects (see Fig. 5 and 6) 

to open in lightbox view, click on the small arrow bottom right

What worked well: 

  • Working with acrylic paint directly onto perspex (with priming first with adhesive spray). It is a opaque and fast drying process.
  • Working with oil paint on mylar or rhenalon with striations (using a tool) creates luminous color patterns.
  • Acrylic transfer of acrylic paintings onto paper makes glossy, reflective smooth surfaces
  • Using thin striations provides quite a translucent appeal

What didn’t work: 

  • Acrylic transfer process on perspex: a disaster as apparently it needs on sheet of paper, and using two plastic sheets doesn’t allow the transfer to happen, even after two days waiting the acrylic adhesive is still wet between both layers.  I am not quite sure why, perhaps that the used acrylic adhesive need to dry and can do so only through porous structures. e.g. paper).  
  • Working with oil paint on perspex or rhenalon takes endless time (around two weeks +) till I could use if further. What makes the entire process with three layers aka building blocks a frustrating endeavour. What is one of the reasons that this assignment took so long. Working on mylar sheets is a bit faster, though the sheet is not transparent.

Conclusions so far

  • Although acrylic transfer onto perspex didn’t work as intended, I found the traces left on perspex (Fig. 8, left) intriguing, kind of artefacts created by chance and failure. Artefacts that resonate with the projection light artefacts observed earlier on.
  • Using acrylic paint as the background and backside of perspex plate
  • Using oil paint or acrylic paint for middle ground with variations of transparency. Considering Jaqueline Humphries (Ryan, 2018) exploration that thick opaque paint still can show through much of visual information from the background. Fig. 19 shows above Fig. 8 and a sketch from my sketchbook, the latter much denser
  • Using more striations and disruptive patterns between background and middle ground.
  • Embracing surprise and follow new ways when get stuck. seeking new territories
Stefan513593 - A3 - Time&Dissociation - opaque transparency

Fig 13: opaque transparency – left: oil paint on paper, right: acrylic transfer onto stenciled acrylic painting

 

Building together:

Based on my previous quick approaches to test the dialogue of two layers (Fig. 8 and 9) I felt encouraged to play with the paintings that worked (and why not also with those that didn’t work?)  and to see how it would resonate: 

First Run:  

Background: oil paint on mylar, middle ground: acrylic transfer on perspex- a failure), gesture: oil paint on paper and mylar 

Stefan513593 - A3 - Time&Dissociation - Build #1

Fig 14: A3 – Time&Dissociation – Build #1: left the building blocks, right two options of layering

With this first round it would be good to reflect on my initial questions: 

  • How could these three elements (gesture // frame – screen // projection – performance) be embedded into convincing work? 
    => through working with three layers
  • How can I leverage and explore materiality to the extend to creating meaning and knowledge?
    => by using transparent/translucent materials that could be associated with screen, masking, window, frame
  • How could the painting support function as a carrier of meaning?
    => This still need to be seen, mostly through the viewer’s engagement related to the portal of the gesture. I do think that a convincing visual result in good-high quality would be crucial. 
  • How could the viewer be engaged through performative reflection as interactive or participatory co-creation act
    => To be tested further when truly installed as one piece (the image taken in Fig. 10 was flat and at some distance as the background in oil was still wet). Though a opaque background may interfere with that?
  • How can my painting cross boundaries of abstract and figurative painting? 
    => through juxtaposition of figurative gesture and more formal abstract patterns
  • How could the work push myself into new territories and knowing?
    => To work with transparent materials is challenging. It not only opens technical challenges on how to paint or transfer paint on these surfaces, it also engages in a more complex way through the additional options of looking from the backside and/or the impact of surrounding lightening and reflections. Some might be more controlled, some others would need to stay in ambiguity waiting for the viewer’s response. I am wondering whether to keep my route of making broad stripes for the background is convincing enough, as I found that thinner stripes aka striations do convey a translucent (background shines through) as well a textured appeal (when using acrylic paint and transfer technique, see Fig 10)

In that sense, it seemed promising to continue with my explorations of variants:

Interaction with building blocks

Two examples from my selected five varieties, interacting, performing, still images of screen (aka surface) based layered painting.

to open in lightbox view, click on a thumbnail

  • Touching a Wall (acrylic and oil paint on perspex, rhenalon and mylar, 40 x 30 cm, framed: 45 x 35 cm)

=> I explored both sides of a painted perspex plate (reference to the initial wall structure seen in Serra’s video work and made into my ‘TV-Box’) with varieties of gesture above. One side of the perspex is painted with an acrylic transfer (yes, I tried it again , a pattern of striations, just traces left, as I found the scattered and randomised visual intriguing. Eventually, I selected the juxtaposed version of monochrome and color (Fig 22)

  • Breaking Through (acrylic paint on perspex and mylar, 40 x 30 cm, framed: 45 x 35 cm)

=> Here, I took my first run (Fig. 14) further by using the failure (perspex with traces from my trial with acrylic transfer), placing a painted rhenalon plate behind and a gesture painted on mylar in between. I explored different varieties and found that the black frame (reference to the black screen box) gives a strong supporting element to the work.

  • Discovery (Oil paint on rhenalon and mylar, 40 x 30 cm, between glass)

=> I started with a framed version as well. Eventually, I found without frame and just sandwiched the rhenalon and mylar layers between two glass plates as more convincing.

Final selection:

A series of 6 works (acrylic and oil paint, on perspex, rhenalon, mylar and paper (painting size approx 40 x 30 cm each, framed sizes 45 x 35 cm):

  • Breaking Through: acrylic paint on perspex and mylar (45 x 35 cm, painting 40 x 30 cm)
  • Reaching: acrylic paint on perspex and mylar (45 x 35 cm, painting 40 x 30 cm)
  • Getting Involved: acrylic and oil paint on perspex and rhenalon (40 x 30 cm)
  • Touching a Wall: acrylic and oil paint on perspex and mylar (40 x 30 cm)
  • Discovery: oil paint on rhenalon and mylar between glass (40 x 30 cm)
  • Human: oil and acrylic paint on paper, rhenalon (approx. 42 x 30 cm)

I decided to title the six works as a reflection of my response to the process of making and viewing. Also, I decided to group the six paintings according to their visual appearance and how they resonate as a group in itself. For that reason I separated Touching a Wall and Discovery from the frame and to embrace the perspex aka glass plate as the support, the work in itself – not contained in a frame.

Gallery view #1: Touching a Wall / Reaching

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Fig. 31: A3 - Time&Dissociation - Touching a Wall / Reaching

I was eager to test the luminance and possibility for background light. Luckily, I had the ‘TV.box’ from previous works ready and installed it as a lightbox with a small LED light at one of the openings. Therefore, I made additional photographs of five of my six selected works (Human (Fig. 33 had an opaque paper background)

Illumination – Appearing and Disappearing acts

With a view from the frontside, with light shining through the back. I took the photographs in a darkened room to ensure the light be more dominant. Idea for gallery installation. Some notion of backlightening, like computer or phone screens, images and pattern appearing, not touchable. And at the same time, information seems to get lost, the bright colors of the painted frontside, disappearing – like disappearing acts – performing with light.  

A3 - Time & Dissociation - Illumination #2

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Fig. 34: Illumination #2 - Breaking Through

=> I find it fascinating how the environment can be merged with what and how we perceive things. We are not completely independent, or innocent of the way we see. I felt reminded of Jaqueline Humphries ‘Black Paintings’ (she used neon paints) or of the participatory video works of Vincent Morriset. From above series, I find Getting Involved (Fig. 32 left) the least successful one. Though, it appears stronger with backlight (Fig. 36)


Learnings

  • More clarity on material issues:
    – acrylic transfer onto perspex: need much more time to dry (could be accelerated with applied heat), similar with oil paint on perspex
    – acrylic paint in perspex: either with a primer or with adhesive mixed into to keep the dry paint on the surface
    – fixing paper onto perspex: either with adhesive of with photo mount
    – painting on perspex or rhenalon: it will keep a translucent appeal, washes are more differentiated, opaque paints are not completely opaque. I embraced that aspects in taken ‘illuminated’ photographs (Fig. 34-38)
  • More clarity on composition:
    – painted frame: a painted frame feels more contained, feeling isolated, less discruptive, less successful
    – frame around the painting:  seems to be more successful, letting the relationship between shapes and color be more active
  • Be pragmatic:
    – I was looking for the right striations and didn’t want to stick to one ‘comb-tool’. Thus, I did a self-made tool, cut from plastic. Luckily, I found also in our garage a tile comb-style spatula.
  • Play:
    – Embracing the works at hand, playing to find new compositions, visually more intriguing (see Fig. 15-30)
  • Installation:
    – Finding how a picture frame can support a visual strong expression, at times the frame seems contains too much (see Fig. 27-30 and 32)

 


Reflection

From working on my assignment body I became much more aware on how I could see my explorations through moving images and painting in a complementary but also a different viewpoint on materiality as an object surrounding us:

Stefan513593-A3-table materiality

Table 1: Materiality (moving images and painting)

Eventually, I found a portal to see how to work with moving images and painting in the future, as both could be considered as a response to above mentioned topics. I would consider as the common denominator:

LIGHT and COLOR and SURFACE

What I also become aware of as a common theme crossing both ‘media’ is the aspect of crossing boundaries of

SPACE and MATERIALITY

I do feel more assured to continue working on those parallel aspect going beyond the notion of painting as an observational medium to depict projected and screened images (from a digital, discrete space). Furthermore, to consider moving images as an expansion of digital recording devices and painted surfaces. And the notion of illumination and light as source of obtaining meaning and knowledge is fascinating. 

Last not least, both ‘media’ can inform the other. Both have their own performative specificity due to material constraints aka opportunities.

 


Reference:

  • NHS (2018) Overview MRI scan, At: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mri-scan/  (Accessed  21 March 2019).
  • Ryan, D. (2018) ‘Painting as event: An interview with Jacqueline Humphries’, In: Journal of Contemporary Painting, 4 (1)pp. 45 – 58.
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A3 – TIME & SCREEN – Part II – mapping territory

  • A3 – TIME & SCREEN – Part II – mapping territory
  • A3 – TIME & SCREEN – Part II – mapping territory

In my first round in developing my assignment work (Time-Screen – Part I) I explored the process of my initial box-performance as a painterly enactment and the subsequent recording and projecting images that eventually led to screen-based artefacts that reminded me of performative elements in itself, similar to my ‘dissociative’ hand.

What worked well

  • use of washes, abstraction. disruptive frames, engagement through presence of the hand, stencil approach, variety in responses

What didn’t work well?

  • containment, partly color choices, partly execution (quality of result), sequence of layering, use of space

I was hoping that I would overcome my barriers by doing and making more paintings, to overcome my self-conscious concerns of being overtly illustrative and making deprived paintings. Pondering the question of hand or no hand, abstract or not abstract. Perhaps, better to be inspired by Amy Sillmann or Cecily Brown, who transformed the question figurative-abstract. Nevertheless, I am wondering how I could possibly embedd more ‘gesture’ into my work.

I decided to explore four main areas:

Screen  –  Frame  –  Gesture  –  Projection

.. with a closer look at:

  • Gesture of the hand: a narrative part of a painting
  • Spaces: space to breath, space to open, a portal
  • Visual depth: how to establish a deeper impression (more translucent)
  • Ambiguity: resulting in more differentiating responses? (see no. 2)
  • Re-framing:  as I explored in Ex.3.3 , to expand support constraints 
  • Performance: moving more towards painting as performance, perhaps as a dialogue with my body, my hand.
  • Fragments/Stencils: using more stencil technique versus collage 

I highlighted two aspects (ambiguity and space) as I felt that both could combine the four areas. Based on my first visual mapping, I started to map out visually these possible areas for development, sketching down my thoughts and ideas helping me to stay sane and to propel my further work in a more structured way (slder)

 Visual Mapping : Frame – Projection – Screen – Gesture (slider Fig 1-3)

A3 - sketchbook - visual mapping 1-2

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Fig. 1: A3 - sketchbook - visual mapping 1-2

Eventually, I started to realise that one overall subject is crossing the boundaries of the four elements (frame, projection, screen, gesture):

dissociation 

in space – ambiguous

..a time based process of presence & absence. I felt strongly reminded of some past works I made and that are now in exhibitions (see my website), although the context and subject matter were completely different. And I am wondering whether the overall theme of dissociation is now becoming more autobiographic (one of my ‘secrets’)

With these maps I explored my ‘territory’ , trying to separate the aspects and to see what could come up as new thoughts and knowledge.

Expansion – Performing – Re-Staging

remark: click on each image to enlarge, to comment, to share

A / FRAME: The framed gesture - a stencil projection

Fig. 4 – Fig. 6: (oil paint, collage on paper; 35.6 x 28 cm / 30 x 42 cm 

=> Fig. 3 inspired by my spray painted frame used during project 3.4 , using a found metal foil as reflective surface, playing with what is painted and what is reflected image, shadows, presence, absence. Fig 4 as a monotype approach of a screen-like plastic foil, overpainted with a frame and engaging with it performative through a collaged cut-out hand, with dissolving spaces.  With reminiscence to Serra’s ‘Catching Hand’, Fig. 5 inspired partly by Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, as I looked at it during my previous investigation on hands (Project 3.2). This gesture might be even trigger a stronger response of the viewer as two hand are reaching out. and with past memories surfacing at the same time.

Overall, this series plays even more with the hand, the gesture and the viewer. As the peer review showed the viewer as human being feels more engaged and emotionally connected when a human part is present. Not though indexical evidence, but rather literally as a recognisable element (relates also to the fact that people do see more often faces in ambiguous abstract patterns than other figures)

B / PROJECTION:

I decided to skip PROJECTION as a separate aspect, because I looked at it quite intensively before: see videos Performance – Unframed #01 and Performance – Unframed #02 . Both vides might be works in themselves, narrative, painterly projections, like me earlier performative video Paint-Catch-Move

C / SCREEN: Reflective evidence  - 

Fig. 7 – Fig. 9: (oil paint, collage on paper; each 35.5 x 51 cm)

=> working with reflective materials, using flexible materials (Fig. 6 – 8) to imprint a ‘screen’ into oil paint, layering of multiple steps/frames (Fig. 6), and transfer a silver painted layer on plastic (Fig. 7, used before as the backside of a self-made mirror) onto the support, an alternative way of using reflective surfaces literally as in Fig. 3. All transfer processes of a materialised screens, disruptive surfaces, only party transferred, revealing its materiality. At times, I felt reminded of the plastic foil I used in part 1 for my Laundry painting.

In this series I like the material aspect of layers and screens: either as embedded textures (Fig. 6-8) or transferred surfaces (Fig. 7). What is normally hidden (e.g. mirror, glass) and with the reflected image as the more dominant image. became now the dominant element. A view I explored, and struggled with,  through my observational reflective mirror paintings in project 3.4

D / GESTURE: The dissociated hand 

Fig. 10 – Fig. 15: oil paint on mylar, collage on paper, acrylic paint; each 35.6 x 28 cm); 3 on white, 3 on colored paper 

=> I used a cut-out ‘hand’ shape as a stencil in some of my previous paintings. Therefore, I took this approach further and thinking to de-contextualise  my overpainted stencils by eliminating the painting around: the tool to become the work. As if my hand was removed from the stage-box alongside its traces/memories of past performance. Trying to re-contextualizise it with white and different colored backgrounds. What works better? What less? Would it be better to see both sides of it? Replacing paper with transparent paper or perspex?

Overall, I find those reduced or focused works intriguing. The reduction to the main aspect, the hand, and all the screening and projection or images, slices of surfaces not any longer as a collage but intrinsically embedded in one piece. The simple toned background just as a support. I felt reminded of my art therapy practice when painting metaphors, e.g. for symptoms or barriers, and the background simply painted in one color – just to allow the viewer’s eye to see even more clearly the figure. The ground as a receding layer.  Fig. 11 and Fig. 12 possibly the more successful ones – a more or less colored version of striations. I feel as if a cycle is closing, a return from my early sketches on striations, the screening, the artefacts of color, and the gestural hand.

Last not least, I was trying to loosely interpret the gesture and the dissociative hand through a composite of transfer and oil paint (taking some reference to a older series of mine: Geologic Sensibility):

Dissociation: The submersed gesture 

Fig. 16 – Fig. 18: oil paint and collage on paper, acrylic transfer; each 35.5 x 51 cm

This are rather free and loose interpretations, keeping the gesture through the figurative ‘hand’-stencil alongside free gestural downwards flowing thinned oil paint. The right hand in Fig. 15. the left hand in Fig. 16, and the one in Fig 17 are collaged cut-outs, the right hand in Fig. 16 is acrylic transfer – a technique I find more intriguing as it is deeper embedded in the picture plane, and the peeling off results often in fragmented images. 

At the end I added striation marks with a comb tool. And depending on the orientation of the support (above all downwards as painted) one could associate the gesture with ‘drowning’, ‘reaching out’, ‘crying for help’, or whatever would cross the viewers’ mind. 

Overall, I like the reduced and dislocated appeal of this series. Although, I find them a bit too ‘noisy’ as if too much paint is concealing the image. Fig. 17 through it simpler expression perhaps more successful. The idea of playing with transfer, painted, stencils and negative shapes is good to develop further, painted context need to be more focused.

 

Reflection:

  • The viewer’s hand, and the idea of the hand inside the paintings as a reflection, possibly even the hand of the viewer. How could this work? wth mirrors opposite the hanging painting? Through enclosures? So that only the hand can engage with the painting? 
  • good to notice that some of my past experiments with different techniques came to merge with my works, e.g. decalcomania, acrylic transfer of inkjet prints. At that time more trying to learn techniques, now serving a visual purpose
  • What I liked:
    – spray paints and stencils – delivering visual depth and spaces, a ground dialogue of shapes and gesture, an element of dissolving 
    – edges: playing with edges with reference to the ‘dissociative edge’, the moment of revealing and concealing both at the same time (a Gestalt phenomena?)
    -color and shapes: 
    – adding gestures: adding engaging, triggering narratives without telling a story
    – serendipity : appearance of patterns through chance
    – the tool to become the work
    – striations: patterns of color, separation and meta-picture, a returning theme
  • Compared with the first part of my assignment development (A3 – TIME & SCREEN – PART I: DEVELOPING IDEAS) with rather observational paintings from projected, recorded performances (more or less abstract), I explored in this second part certain aspects that I discerned from my previous paintings: Frame, Screen, Projection, Gesture and a resulting theme of dissociation.  It seems to me as if the individual parts are performing on their own. The first series ‘Frame’ within the initial constrains. the second series dislocating the frame and the screen as independent actors, the fourth series ‘Gesture’ as a fully dissociative stand-alone gesture informed by the prior process of projection. and the fifth series ‘Dissociation’ as being in a new context. 

Now, it is time to consolidate and make my final series of works for assignment submission. Although I find the various paintings intriguing and possible worth to repeat with variations as a series, I will focus now on the simple gesture alongside a more material based idea of screen and frame. The separated hand felt quite strong and I am wondering how I could push this further. The main question I would like to address in my final work:

How to take the gesture of the hand
an acting hand
informed by viewing as process
of screen based imagery? 

 

My works for departure will be:

Stefan513593-A3- paintings to push forward

Fig. 19: A3- paintings to push forward

 


Reference:

  • Candela, E., Cubitt, S., Dicker, B., Drew, B. and Leslie, E. (2018) ‘Liquid Crystals: A Roundtable’, In: Journal of Visual Culture, 17 (1)pp. 22-67.
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A3 – TIME & SCREEN – Part I: Developing ideas

My assignment work is a development of what I started with in projects 2 and 3 – see blog entry on narrative. Fascinated by the video work of Richard Serra ‘Hand Catching Lead’ (1968) and the repetitive action as kind of failure, rising a desire to continue.  Over time, I became more sensible to the small moments, deviations, and the material expressions, like one becomes more sensible to the impact of the environment. An aspect that played a role e.g. in Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘White Paintings’ or in Jacqueline Humphries’ ‘Black Light Paintings’.

I appropriated, enacted, staged, recorded, projected, and played with the space and surfaces – in a sense observing the performative elements appearing with a higher awareness to still-images, moments of glimpses, artefacts, interactions. Only through a double projection/recording of my process based approach, I became aware of appearing artefacts and glitches. 

 

TIME: A Sensibility

 

Eventually, I decided that with the efforts I already put into it, alongside my attachment to my sculptural TV-box as my stage for flat screen performances, and a desire to look deeper, I will continue. 

Derived from my Pull series  I defined a few still images for further development.

Fig. 1 – Fig. 7: Slider of seven still images from moving images: Hand-Catch-Screen and Hand-Catch-Screen-Performance)

my hand - my body
in-front of a wall
trying to catch  - something
waiting
Fig. 1
my hand and the TV-set
inside or outside
dislocated - dissociated
a part and apart from
the world
Fig. 2
my hand 
inside
fragmented
layered
real or a projection?
a timeless moment
Fig. 3
glitches
artefacts
the performing screen
a moment in time
an object?
Fig. 4
surreal
touching
the screen
glitch in-between
where is it safe?
Fig. 5
reaching through
two worlds
where to be?
crossing reflections
staying fragmented
Fig. 6
invisible - visible
disappearing act
glooming existence
where am I?
Fig. 7

 

There were some aspects that attracted my attention: 

dislocation (inside, outside)   –  dissociation (hand from body)  
disruptive planes (collage, juxtaposition, combines)  –  fragmentation (close up view)
layering (all together)

After my previous explorations of embodied enactment through a painted stage (similar to Rachel Russell) I became more fascinated by these still imagery – embracing technology driven artefacts and glitches through a double recording-projection with the painted prop (TV box) as the stage for performance.

My question to me:
– What happened virtually ‘on stage’ as a performance (color creation through projection), could this be transformed through painting, painting to perform?
– How can my experience of my dissociated hand be part of that performative painting?

Important for me, to warm-up through painting. Based on my previous making experiences, to embrace what will happen during the making.

Representation & Interpretation

A series of paintings from above still images. An observational effort of representing? Perhaps more of placing my bodily experience onto a surface. And partly an interpretation.

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation no1

Fig. 8: Representation and Interpretation no1 – acrylic paint and collage (30x40cm canvas paper); an early experiment with decalcomania, framing, and collage; dialogue hand – paint

 

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation no1

Fig. 9: Representation and Interpretation no1 – acrylic and oil paint, collage (35.5x51cm cold press paper); a more elaborated experiment with oil paint washes, layering, framing, and collage; expanding the frame and sense of dissociation (hand inside and outside the frame), shifting layers.

 

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation no2

Fig. 10: Representation and Interpretation no2 – acrylic and oil paint, collage (30x40cm canvas paper); a more elaborated layered painting, closer up, getting inside the frame (aka box), sensible to artefacts as performing elements, starting to move towards abstraction in itself. A sense of touching the invisible.

 

I found these three examples possible too representative, informed by the still ‘painterly images’ – and too deprived? I felt as if they are just that: representations, and not enough performative paintings. Would this be different? I wanted to loosen up more, distancing myself from the ‘original’ virtual still images, and to review possible approaches of interpretation.  Nevertheless, I find Fig, 10 the more successful, a more coherent color palette, a more balanced composition as well. From Fig. 9 I take the dissociative aspect of the hand inside and outside further, from Fig. 8 a stronger tonal contrast and an apparently advancing hand. Also that one has a more disruptive framing aspect. To overcome or to embrace the rectangular constraint of the support?

Scaling up and further development

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation - prep

Fig. 11: Interpretation – prep – ground in acrylic paint (50 x 60 cm board)

I started off with making background paintings on board in acrylic paint, and reminiscence to Richard Serra’s video work with the mural behind – as I created my initial ‘TV-set‘ as well (Fig. 11)

.. and to layer over multiple thin washes in oil paint, trying not to become too opaque as my model is light –  infused, no object color. I took the ideas once again from my previous pull narrative and chosen still images (Fig 6 – in slider above). I found it often more inspiring to develop further from a pre-painted support, often abstract, to shape from that ground the figures, to let the next layers appear from the ground.

 

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation no4

Fig. 12: Representation and Interpretation no4 – acrylic and oil paint (50x60cm board); oil washes brushed and physically rubbed into the surface;  a box or a frame on the wall? reaching across or inside? Advancing, inviting?

 

At this point of time, I was wondering how much my hand need to be present and represented in the painting? Otherwise, my hand was (and is) the actor in the performative enactment (see above) but I felt that my hand in painting need to perform its own ‘performative action’. Nevertheless, in this painting (Fig. 12) the hand has also a life and behaviour in itself. 

I decided to continue with ‘handless’ paintings, so to speak, to get my hand back to paint.- and to let it disappear in the act of painting. 

 

Transformation ‘Disappearing Acts’

I borrowed this title from Bruce Nauman retrospective, a show that made a long-lasting impression on me. And also the origin for my parallel project with the use of today’s imaging technologies in mapping and exploring other areas. 

 

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation no5

Fig. 13: Representation and Interpretation no5 – acrylic and oil paint (50x60cm board); washes, the collaged hand a temporary layer, to be peeled off; focusing on the striations created on the surface (and inside my TV box maquette) as artefacts from double projection.

 

The hands still there, as stencils, and disappearing, to be peeled off.  I was still not satisfied with the result. Perhaps the color combination not convincing, perhaps the hand as such not knowing what to do there.

I wanted to get rid of the hand completely – and let the paint perform in itself (Fig 14)

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation no6

Fig. 14: Representation and Interpretation no6 – acrylic and oil paint (50x60cm board); abstraction of surface reflections – the box, the frame partly there (top and bottom), my hand disappeared form the picture plane, only its’ index as the artist hand could be concluded. More opaque elements appear.

 

At this stage, I became more aware of the materiality and the tools. Comparing my initial performative enactment and video recording alongside the technological artefacts and glitches, I was wondering whether paint and the space around me could act and perform more freely, unmediated, going beyond past representations towards future possibilities. I got reminded of the works from Julie Mehretu and Jaqueline Humphries , who started off with representational imagery but exceeded and cross-layered those in order to bring forward new works. Both have in common a combination of structural and gestural elements. 


Intermediate reflection

  • I decided for the title TIMESCREEN as it could invite the viewer (and first me) to reflect on the word and to emerge with the painting. To see behind and at the same time to consider each still image as a work in itself. 
  • Some of above paintings do convey a certain narrative, like Fig. 12 with the hand crossing edges. Possibly, that the ‘real’ narrative is happening in the space in-between, the space the viewer enters when going physically through an exhibition, engaging and interacting with works on display. This will trigger ideas, embrace individual experience of the viewer resulting in a new narrative, making sense process. I do embrace Jutta Koether’s approach in her series Seasons and Sacraments, as if a certain relationship with know past moments, stories, are one important aspect of the body of work. An invitation for participation.  I will consider this in my assignment work and parallel project.
  • I do consider this assignment work as a deeper reflection on my exploration of the body and the screen. In project 3 I looked at the narrative through moving images and ‘pulling a narrative’ from it. Here I approached the moments of artefacts and glitches in relationship with my body interaction, with my hand as the mean to paint but also as the mean to take a handle, to grasp, to understand through making. Not so much in a symbolic way rather as a mediator for performative painting.
  • The question what a painting is became more open-ended by my approach: a layering of multiple realities: Serra’s video work, my appropriation of it, my painted and unpainted hand, inside and outside, a staged TV-box, the autonomous performance of my hand. Also artefacts of digital and analog technology as means of virtual imagery –  performing for me.
  • My painting approach:
    – I explored various technique: decalcomania (monotype), stencil technique, collage, layering, and textured paint versus washes.
    – I did work still within certain constraints: the contained shape of the support and the flatness of painting
    – So far I did not work sculptural as it was the main painting aspect in my enactments wth the TV-box, and I did not work outside the support constraints. Considering my motive and aspiration I am wondering whether these approaches could support more successful the elements of dissociation, fragmentation and disruption without being illustrative or merely effect based as a trope. Concerning constraints and picture planes I am still intrigued by my video recording of reflective projection (Performance – Unframed #01) Possibly, that I am struggling once again with the question which medium is more successful: moving images or painting, or how moving images can be considered as an expanded field of painting. Certainly a question to be discussed with my tutor during next tutorial.
  • An overall struggle with the figurative element of my performing hand: to picture it, to let it perform through painting, to get rid of completely, or to embrace as an element that adds meaning, a human body part more engaging?

I modified the last three paintings (Fig. 12, 13, 14) a bit further and put the paintings up for a crit, a vcrit event organized by the regional group Europe under the lead of tutor Jayne Taylor: 

SHOWCASE: Time & Screen – VCrit

The vcrit was an in interesting experience as I asked for responses without providing information on the prior process: no information on appropriating Richard Serra, nor on my performative enactment in a painted TVBox, neither my double projected color artefacts as a technology driven performance informing my  paintings. Though some participants knew where I was coming from.

Next steps:

  • To consider gesture of hand as narrative part of a painting
  • To work more with spaces, space to breath, space to open, a portal
  • To work more with visual depth
  • To work with ambiguity as this would results in more differentiating responses (see no. 2)
  • To consider re-framing as I explored in Ex.3.3 and to expand support constraints 
  • To move further towards painting as performance, perhaps as dialogue with my body, my hand.
  • To consider more stencil rather than collage approach by keeping visual depth

 

 

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